Hold your plans lightly, not tightly
Suppose we catch a beautiful butterfly and hold it in our fingers. If we hold it too tightly, fearing that it may slip away, we may unwittingly squeeze its life out.
Something similarly counterproductive happens if we hold our plans too tightly. We all need plans to stay focused. Amidst life’s many distractions and disruptions, holding on to our plans gives us a sense of orientation, progression and completion.
Still, while holding our plans, we need to guard against holding them too tightly. Otherwise, when life’s upheavals wreck our plans, we may start resenting, blaming and complaining. By being too attached to our plans, we may squeeze out of our life the very clarity and energy that the plan was supposed to bring.
The Bhagavad-gita begins with a terrible thwarting of Arjuna’s plans. As a kshatriya, he had an overarching life-plan: use the power of his arms to rule virtuously for the pride and pleasure of his venerable elders. But the Kurukshetra war forced him to choose between the path of virtue that required him to fight against his elders and the path of service to elders that required him to give up that fight. With his life-plans thus upended, Arjuna saw no good in the upcoming war (01.30).
Yet the Gita explained to Arjuna that a divine plan was still in operation for the ultimate good of everyone. Hearing the Gita, Arjuna became ready to cooperate with the divine plan, thereby regaining his composure (18.73).
The Gita can guide us all to hold our plans lightly, not tightly. Being thus guided, we make plans and try our best to execute them. But when factors beyond our control thwart our plans, we don’t hyperventilate – we open ourselves for the working of a higher plan, confident that it will bring good in its own way.
Think it over:
- What is the difference between holding plans and holding them too tightly?
- How can we hold our plans lightly, not tightly?
- Is there any plan you are holding too tightly? How can you loosen your grip?
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