From applause to absorption

We live in a culture that makes us crave for external validation, all the more so with the advent of social media. Therein, every post gets numerically rated and inadvertently compared with other posts, by us and by others. Based on how many likes we get, we may lose ourselves in doing things that we hope will be praised. 

Even if we are gifted enough to be applauded, still applause is never enough. We live in constant fear that our next performance may not be applauded as much as our previous ones. And the dread that our best may well be behind us, irreversibly, can be devastatingly demoralizing. Thus, the craving for applause can poison our consciousness and paralyze us. No wonder the Bhagavad-gita (06.07) urges us to stay equipoised amid life’s dualities such as honor and dishonor.  

How can we counter the toxic craving for applause? By seeking absorption as the antidote. 

Absorption can come from both the nature and the purpose of our work. If we are naturally inclined toward a particular kind of work, then doing it can give us significant satisfaction, irrespective of the world’s recognition. Similarly, if we work for someone we love, that loving contribution can give us great satisfaction, independent of whether others recognize us or not. Among the many people we may love in the world, the most attractive and enduring object of love is the all-attractive supreme, Krishna. Working to serve him can be supremely fulfilling. 

Significantly, Gita wisdom helps us find both material and spiritual absorption. How? By encouraging us to serve Krishna according to our psychophysical nature. When we become thus connected with him through our entire being — material and spiritual — we find a sublime satisfaction that reduces and eventually removes our dependence on applause

One-sentence summary:

To counter the toxic craving for applause, cultivate absorption as the antidote 

Think it over:

  • How can the craving for applause act like poison?
  • How can we cultivate absorption?
  • How can bhakti-yoga provide us the most fulfilling absorption? 

***

06.07: For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquillity. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.

 

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