Events are not in our control, but experiences are

When things outside our control go wrong, we may get overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness. Such feelings can be crushing especially when things that matter critically to us are falling apart and we find ourselves powerless to do anything to stop it.

Actually however, there is always something we can do – we can change our interpretation of the reversal, thereby reshaping our response to it. Events in the outer world are not always under our control, but our experience of those events in our inner world is. The Bhagavad-gita (13.21) indicates that events in the outer world are determined by material nature, but their effect on us in terms of the pleasure or pain they cause is determined by our mentality, that is, our worldview. If our worldview is primarily materialistic, then the falling apart of things in the outer world causes a corresponding quake in our inner world. With nothing unchangeable to hold on to, we fall apart internally.

But if we are educated in a spiritual worldview, we understand that we are at our core souls whom the worst worldly reversal can’t even touch. We also understand that God, Krishna, loves us unfailingly and unflinchingly. He is always there by our side in our inner world no matter what all and who all leaves our side in the outer world. And these spiritual realities are not just theoretical – they become accessible and relishable when we practice yoga, especially bhakti-yoga. Such spiritual experiences provide us inner shelter and strength, thereby calming our heart and cooling our head. Then we can revisit the outer events without the burden of unnecessarily negative interpretations of those events, thereby discovering positives we had missed earlier.

Thus, Gita wisdom by empowering us to change our inner experiences helps us respond better to outer events.

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