Don’t hold on to the things that hold you back

If a person were bound by ropes and were struggling for freedom, we would expect them to break the ropes, not hold on to them.

Such illogical holding on to the things that hold one back is most graphically evident in addicts, who deem as life’s most important thing the very substance that makes their life unproductive and miserable. Their addiction dominates their life and obstructs them in developing whatever abilities they have and making corresponding contributions.

This principle of holding what holds us back applies to not just addicts but everyone – just that our attachments may be less evident or damaging. Our failing may not be a substance at all. It may even be a belief, a self-deluding misconception about something. While specific misbeliefs may disempower us in specific ways, we often have a generic misbelief that chokes our capacity to go ahead in life towards our full potential.

That generic misbelief is materialism, the notion that pleasure is found only in material things. Worldly things offer some pleasure, but obsessing over them traps us in material consciousness. Such consciousness blinds us to life’s higher purposes and numbs us to spiritual joys. The Bhagavad-gita (02.44) cautions that attachment to sensual indulgence erodes the determination necessary for spiritual growth.

To achieve our full potential for contribution and satisfaction, we need to redefine our conceptions of happiness. The Gita explains that we are at our core souls. We are the eternal parts of Krishna, the all-attractive source of all pleasure. By connecting with him through bhakti-yoga, we can find lasting fulfillment in loving service to him.

By holding on to him through inner remembrance and outer service, we can let go of the things that hold us back and grow towards making meaningful contribution and finding lasting satisfaction.

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