How we end up neglecting life’s important things

When people face sudden disaster or death, they often realize that they have wasted so much of their life on unimportant things while neglecting important things. Why don’t we all get this realization earlier? What misleads us? It’s our mind. 

To understand, here’s an analogy. Suppose someone gifts us a precious jewel. Appreciating its value, we keep it carefully. Suppose someone who is constantly with us has an eye on that jewel. They get us caught in so many things that we end up forgetting we even had that jewel. 

With regard to life’s important things, we all are put into similar forgetfulness by our mind which is constantly with us, within us. During our life, we may be blessed with various valuable things: good health, loving relationships and spiritual life rich with opportunities to connect with the all-attractive divine, Krishna. But our mind captivates our attention with so many distractions and temptations that we end up neglecting even materially valuable things such as health and family, what to speak of spiritually valuable things, which are not so easily perceivable. Why not?   

The Bhagavad-gita (18.37) cautions that spiritual joys are concealed under a layer of initial poison, which often makes us downplay or delay them. In contrast, sensual indulgences come with a layer of initial nectar (18.38), which makes us unthinkingly gravitate toward them. Our mind frequently makes us obsess over these deceptive initial appearances, thereby taking us toward sensuality while taking away our spirituality. 

How can we prevent such mis-evaluation? By regularly reading wisdom-texts like the Gita that remind us of the things that are truly valuable and by associating with serious spiritualists who are focused on those valuable things. 

One-sentence summary:

Consciously value the things that matter, or our mind will unconsciously devalue them.

Think it over:

  • How does our mind make us forget life’s important things?
  • How does our mind take us away from spirituality toward sensuality?
  • How can we ensure that we value the things that are of actual value? 

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18.37: That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.

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