Dissatisfaction is more often caused by inner instability than by outer incompatibility

The nature of the mind is to always keep us dissatisfied, to make us feel that something is wrong out there. Under its influence, we may think that we are in a job or a relationship that is incompatible. While outer incompatibility can be a cause of dissatisfaction, to jump to that inference as the first explanation for our dissatisfaction is to fall right into the mind’s trap for keeping us perpetually restless.

Most traps make the victim motionless, but the mind’s trap makes us restless. We live in a culture that is prominently in the mode of passion. The sensual impressions from such a passionate culture aggravate the mind, which is often already in passion because of our past worldly indulgences. The passionate mind makes us believe that whatever we have is unsuitable for us and that we need something else to become happy. The Bhagavad-gita (14.16) warns that life in passion results in misery. One such misery is the dissatisfaction that dogs us constantly because of our mind’s instability.

To calm the unstable mind, we need to connect it to a higher, stabler reality. Such a reality is most easily accessed through the practice of bhakti-yoga, which links us with Krishna, who is the source of the supreme happiness. The restless mind in its quest for pleasure is actually looking for him, but it doesn’t understand or accept this easily, so it may not immediately come to rest. Nonetheless, if we persevere in bhakti, the sustained exposure to Krishna will provide us a deep fulfillment that will calm our restless mind. Then we can objectively evaluate whether our dissatisfaction is coming from inner instability or from outer incompatibility. By complementing such dispassionate observation with Gita wisdom, we can address the cause of dissatisfaction maturely.

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