Every trial is a teacher

In life, we all go through various trials. A trial seems especially trying is when it appears pointless, when it seems as if that trial is causing us trouble without serving any purpose.

For example, when a soldier fighting on a battlefield becomes wounded or succumbs, that wound is celebrated as heroic or that death is celebrated as martyrdom. But if that soldier dies in an accident even before reaching the battlefield, then that death seems so pointless and purposeless.

Similarly, when we feel that our problems serve no purpose, we find them agonizing, mortifying, frustrating. Thankfully, Gita wisdom helps us understand that no problem is pointless, for every trial is a teacher. The Bhagavad-gita (18.61) states that the Supreme Lord directs the wanderings of all living beings. So whatever happens to us is ultimately sanctioned by him. And he is our greatest well-wisher. Whatever happens by his sanction happens to further the ultimate purpose of our existence: our spiritual evolution towards eternal love.

The trials we face in life may seem meaningless at the material level of reality, but the material level isn’t the only level of our existence. Far from it, it is actually the secondary level of existence, for we are primarily spiritual beings who are secondarily encased in temporary material bodies that exist circumstantially at the material level of reality.

In our essential spiritual existence, we delight eternally in love for the all-attractive supreme person, the source of unending pleasure, Krishna. We can learn to love him by practicing bhakti-yoga, but we need impetus to turn away from worldly pleasures and take up such practice. Trials often forcefully remind us of the hollowness of the world’s promises and inspire us to seek Krishna’s love, thereby spurring our spiritual evolution. Thus trials act as teachers if we just learn to learn from them.

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