Attachment actuates and aggravates anxiety
The world is characterized by change and uncertainty. And uncertainty about necessary things naturally causes anxiety. However, different from unavoidable anxiety is unnecessary anxiety. Such anxiety is actuated by attachment, especially disproportionate attachment, to unnecessary things.
Consider, for example, the unprecedented sports mania that subjects millions to enormous tension. Normally, people watch sports for entertainment, and the uncertainty about a game’s result increases its excitement. However, sports mania can destroy people’s sense of perspective. Instead of seeing a game as a game, as one small part of life, they deem it as important as life. Some fans even consider it more important than life – when their favorite team loses, they become suicidal.
Similarly, whenever alcoholics pass by a bar, they undergo massive mental agitation – Will my favorite drink be available? How can I drink without getting into trouble? How can I get the money to drink? Non-alcoholics remain free from all this anxiety.
We all have our attachments that aggravate our anxieties. The Bhagavad-gita (16.11) underscores the general principle: the belief that worldly things are the source of life’s defining happiness sentences us to unending anxiety.
Taking tranquilizers, as millions do nowadays, can’t help much as long as we are attached to the things that destroy our tranquility. We need to unsentimentally evaluate which of our attachments need to be toned down, maybe even tossed out.
As we are innately pleasure-seeking, we can’t stay detached for long from things that promise pleasure. Bhakti-yoga directs our attachment towards the one object that delivers lasting fulfillment: all-attractive Krishna, our Lord whose parts we are eternally.
Even if we aren’t pure enough to relish absorption in Krishna, bhakti-yoga still helps. Bhakti wisdom helps us understand that Krishna is the supreme unchanging reality. And bhakti practice enables us to focus on him, thereby infusing our consciousness with sublime stability.
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