How the world sees us is not as important as how we see the world

We often worry about how the world sees us: “Do people notice me? Which way do heads turn when I arrive?”

This outside-in approach seems natural for us because the outside world seems much easier to know than the inside self. The school, the media and the culture tell us about the world. But who tells us about the self? Practically no one. As the inside is a disconcertingly dark area, we focus on an area that seems better lit: the outside.

Such an outside-in approach makes us feel that we are nobodies if we can’t evoke the world’s nod, smile or pat. Unfortunately, what the world approves is often both fickle and superficial: fickle because it changes constantly with the fashions, and superficial because it doesn’t address our innermost needs. Consequently, we feel distressingly insecure, ever-dependent on the world’s unsteady and unsatisfactory judgment.

If we want to be internally secure, we need to adopt an inside-out approach. Gita wisdom aids us in this by systematically informing us about what lies inside: the soul, the real me. The Bhagavad-gita (13.32) indicates that as souls we have nothing to do with the world; our real life is in loving service to Krishna in the eternal spiritual world. This knowledge profoundly alters our perception of the world around us. We see it as a passing station on our journey to Krishna’s abode. Instead of agonizing about how the world sees us, we focus instead on how we see it, how we can use it to develop our loving relationship with Krishna. We learn to see in every worldly situation an opportunity to serve him and move closer to him.  

Once we develop this vision, we can experience security and serenity even amidst the world’s uncertainty.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Text 32

“Those with the vision of eternity can see that the imperishable soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.”


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Four stages in Gita study: Veneration, Comprehension, Application, Transformation

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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