Change not just the state of mind – change also the state of being
Many popular self-help books claim that we will become happy if we just change our state of mind from negative to positive. Is this true?
Certainly, changing a habitually pessimistic attitude to a consciously optimistic attitude can help us feel better. But will it change the reality that all of us have to grow old, get diseased and die? Will it change the miserable nature of material existence where we frequently don’t get what we want and regularly get what we don’t want? Will it change the fact that all material pleasures are too short-lived to satisfy our longing for constant happiness?
An honest answer to these questions has to be in the negative, as even a little contemplation on our own experience of material life will confirm.
The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) indicates that both the sensual and the mental levels are sources of suffering for the soul, whose original existence is beyond both these levels. At that trans-sensual, trans-mental spiritual level of being, the soul delights in an eternal loving relationship with Krishna, the source of supreme happiness.
We cannot return to the spiritual level of being merely by seeing the positive side of life while continuing to live materialistically. Instead, we need to follow the twofold path outlined by the Gita (13.10-11):
- Leave the material level of being by becoming equipoised towards both the materially positive and the materially negative,
- Transfer ourselves to the spiritual level of being by making Krishna the goal of our life and cultivating a lifestyle and social circle that furthers this goal.
Only when we spiritualize our values and purposes for living and thus change our state of being to spiritual will our longing for lasting happiness be factually and eternally fulfilled.
“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”