Beating our head against a wall is not humility – it is stupidity

“Beating our head against a wall” refers idiomatically to any activity whose only result is to hurt us.

When we share spiritual knowledge with others, we may find that some people are just not interested. If we pressurize them too much, they go from apathy to hostility. Thus, our efforts end up becoming like beating our head against a wall.

Unfortunately, we may keep beating our head, being driven by the notion that tolerating people’s neglecting or rejecting us will make us humble. This notion is mistaken because our primary purpose is to serve Krishna, not to hurt ourselves in the name of developing humility. While serving Krishna, if our ego impedes our service, we need to put aside our ego and persevere in our service. Thereby, we develop humility in a way that takes others and us closer to Krishna.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita recommends that we not share its message with the unreceptive (18.67), but focus on sharing it with the receptive (18.68). Of course, we shouldn’t perfunctorily label people as unreceptive just because they don’t show any interest initially; we need to kindle their interest by explaining the Gita relevantly, sensitively and creatively.

Still, despite our repeated efforts, some people may remain apathetic. We need to understand that we all are at different stages in our spiritual evolution – some of us may not be presently ready to take significant spiritual steps. So, we can note their apathy, but not use it to demonize them – the Gita urges us to avoid animosity towards anyone (11.55) and to be the well-wisher of everyone (12.13).

Guided by Gita wisdom, we can end our interaction with them on a cordial note, serve them through our prayers offered from a distance and move on to those more receptive to the Gita.

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