Engage with reality on your terms, not on the mind’s terms or the world’s terms
Suppose we want to watch some educational program on TV. If someone else had set the TV to a celebrity gossip channel, we would change the channel, not just passively watch whatever is displayed.
We need to be similarly purposeful in engaging with reality. Among the myriad stimuli out there, the world – that is, materialistic people and materialistic media – draws our attention towards certain stimuli. Additionally, our mind too directs our attention towards certain stimuli. If we passively dwell on whatever is highlighted by the world or the mind, then we are like the person watching whichever channel is on.
Can we totally neglect what the world or the mind say? No. Some of it may be relevant, even important. But much of it isn’t. The onus is on us to differentiate between the two. For such differentiation, we need to begin with our purpose.
While we all have our various purposes, Gita wisdom reveals our ultimate purpose. We are souls on a journey of multi-life evolution, which is meant to culminate in eternal, ecstatic love for our all-attractive Lord, Krishna. That divine love is our life’s overarching purpose, with which we need to harmonize our other purposes.
How can we stay aware of our purpose? By studying the Gita and situating ourselves in the mode of goodness. Therein, we get the inner illumination to evaluate various sensory stimuli and focus on those that deserve attention. (Bhagavad-gita 14.11).
Applying the Gita by practicing bhakti-yoga diligently elevates our consciousness to goodness and beyond, thereby sharpening our focus on our purpose. Being thus focused, we don’t unthinkingly react to whatever happens in the mind or in the world. Instead, we thoughtfully process various physical and mental stimuli, thereby charting our path towards our all-round growth and to our eternal Lord.
Think it over:
- When do we become like the person watching whichever TV channel is on?
- What is life’s ultimate purpose – how is it related to our various purposes?
- What is the best way to respond to the stimuli presented by the mind and the world?
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