How to persevere amid uncertainty?
Suppose we are driving. We gain confidence by seeing the path ahead clearly and knowing how it takes us to our destination. However, if the weather turns misty, we may need to drive on without much clarity or certainty, especially if we are on an urgent mission.
Life is much more complex than a car drive. And it frequently subjects us to misty weather. How? By blurring the connection between our actions and their results. We usually contemplate the causal connection between our actions and their consequences, and thereby choose wisely. However, sometimes we do something good, yet get a terrible result. Alluding to such misty life-phases, the Bhagavad-gita (04.17) states that karma can be incomprehensibly complex.
How can we live with such uncertainty? By shifting our focus from our knowledge to our position. We are parts of a benevolent whole, Krishna (15.07) and are meant to contribute in a mode of loving service. Every situation provides us an opportunity to contribute, even if we can’t see the path ahead clearly. Accepting our inability to know and still holding on to our ability to serve requires humility.
If we ground ourselves in the twin certainties that we are parts of Krishna and that we are meant to serve Him, we can move ahead through life’s many uncertainties, as did Arjuna. On hearing the Gita, he accepted his position as Krishna’s servant (18.73) and acted accordingly in the ensuing Kurukshetra war. Still, he had to live through uncertainty when formidable opponents like Bhishma, Drona and Karna were on a seemingly unstoppable rampage. Still, by fighting one battle at a time, by enduring one wound at a time, by shooting one arrow at a time, Arjuna persevered till he succeeded.
To persevere through uncertainty, we need the humility to shift our focus from how much we can see ahead to how we can serve now.
Think it over:
- How does life subject us to misty weather?
- During the Kurukshetra war, how did Arjuna persevere through uncertainty?
- How does humility empower us to coexist with uncertainty?
04.17: The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.
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