Give the world your attention, but don’t give it monopoly over your attention
“Don’t miss the forest for the trees” is a saying that cautions us against letting small things blind us to far bigger things.
This saying can help us spiritual beings live purposefully in this material world. If we let ourselves be emotionally consumed by the world’s inevitable ups and downs, then our destabilized emotions often prevent us from responding intelligently. Paradoxically, we often harm the world by not seeing beyond the world. As the world is filled with temporary things that can never satisfy fully our longing for happiness, letting it monopolize our attention and aspiration means that we sentence ourselves to dissatisfaction. Moreover, because the world’s resources are limited, believing that they are our sole source of pleasure puts us in destructive competition with each other.
Gita wisdom helps us understand our spiritual identity. When we appreciate that we are at our core souls, who are parts of Krishna, our vision rises beyond this world to Krishna. He becomes the object of our love, the purpose of our life, the person we aspire to please through whatever we do. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.46) urges us to work in a mood of worship.
Diligent bhakti practice equips us to focus on Krishna and on how we can serve him in this world. Thus equipped, we do all our activities responsibly, seeing them as our service-offerings to him. Simultaneously, our focus on him gives us a sturdy shelter amidst the world’s ups and downs. Thus, we give due attention to the world without letting it monopolize our attention.
By cultivating a devotional cyclic routine of engagement in this world and withdrawal for focusing on the transcendental Lord, we can do our best in the world while progressing towards the best beyond this world: Krishna’s eternal abode.
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