Are we mistaking an inner lacking for an outer lacking?
We sometimes feel that something is lacking in our life. Before we can soberly investigate what it is that is missing, the culture fills our mind with pat answers: “Here’s the fanciest dress, there’s the latest gadget, that’s the finest car- that’s what’s missing.”
These pat answers may not always be wrong; we may sometimes need these things at a functional level, for their unavailability may cause inconveniences or problems. But the idea that getting those things will satisfy us at an emotional level is almost always wrong.
That’s because this emotional wanting is usually created by our inner psychological condition, by the excessive influence of the mode of passion. The Bhagavad-gita (14.12) indicates that greed and insatiable desire are the characteristics of the mode of passion. What this essentially means is that as long as we are in the grip of the mode of passion, we will feel impelled to look for things that we don’t have. Acquiring a particular thing that we don’t have – say a new car – won’t change that underlying mental tendency, for that tendency is not generated by the lack of that specific object, but by the mode of passion. And satisfying a particular desire generated by the mode of passion won’t remove or even reduce the influence of that mode on us. To the contrary, the more we give in to that mode, the more its grip on us will tighten. This will impel us to keep looking and longing all the more for all the things that we don’t have, no matter how much we get.
If we want to feel whole and full, we need to work on our inner lacking – the absence of our inner connection with Krishna who is the source of all happiness. The more we strengthen and deepen our Krishna-connection, the more we will feel fulfilled, irrespective of what we have or lack materially. That inner fulfillment is the only platform for steady and substantial happiness.
“O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop.”