If we are grateful when ability manifests through us, we can be graceful when it doesn’t
Amid life’s challenges, we all look for some ability that enables us to stand apart. On finding such an ability, we may become proud, delighting in the superiority over others that it bestows us.
However, ability can be frustratingly elusive. Even the best authors may run into a writers’ block. Even the best sports players may go out of form. When our defining abilities desert us, we may feel distressed, devastated, even suicidal.
How can we prevent such negative reactions? By reconceptualizing our abilities. The Bhagavad-gita (07.08) states that our abilities are not exactly ours; they are gifts of the divine manifesting through us. Because they don’t belong exclusively to us, they won’t always be available at our command.
If our defining abilities are so unstable, how can we stay stable? By acquiring a spiritual vision of our identity and purpose.
Gita wisdom explains that we are souls who are on a multi-life journey of spiritual evolution. To evolve, we need to devotionally connect with the all-attractive ultimate reality, Krishna. On the foundation of that connection, we can make the optimal material contribution by using our entire being, including our abilities, in a mood of service to Krishna.
With this understanding, we can be grateful to Krishna when the abilities he has gifted us manifest through us. And when they don’t, we can accept gracefully, knowing that he can use us as he chooses and use others when he chooses. In all situations, we remain his eternal parts meant to serve him. And our loving connection with him through service remains our ever-present solace and strength.
When we thus base our identity on our spirituality, then we can always have stability independent of ability.
Think it over:
- Why is becoming proud of our abilities problematic?
- How does the Gita help us reconceptualize our abilities?
- How can we be stable amid the instability of our abilities?
07.08 O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.
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