If what we live with becomes what we live for, we end up having nothing to live for
While driving, we need two things: the fuel we drive with and the destination we drive for. If we don’t have any fuel, what we drive with may temporarily become what we drive for. But if we just keep driving from one gas station to the next, we will soon get bored.
Similar is our situation in life. We need both things that we live with – resources such as food and money – and things we live for: our values and purposes. If we don’t have enough food or money for surviving, we live for getting those things. But after getting those things adequately, if we keep pursuing them, life soon becomes pointless, even self-destructive. Hungry people are in misery, but are all well-fed people out of misery? Far from it, millions are miserable because of being too well-fed and becoming obese. If money becomes our life’s driving purpose and we drive our loved ones away while chasing after money, we end up lonely and unhappy. Indeed, misery amid plenty suggests that our resources have superseded our purposes.
Such was Arjuna’s agony on the brink of the Kurukshetra war. He felt that winning the whole earth or even attaining the heavens wouldn’t remove his existential angst (Bhagavad-gita 02.08). That’s when the Gita offered him a majestic vision of what to live for: to develop inner connection with the divine and to make outer contribution on behalf of the divine. When we too live for that spiritual purpose, we find enduring meaning and sublime fulfillment.
Think it over:
- What we live with may sometimes become what we live for — when is that ok and when not?
- In your own life, did the resources for living supersede the purposes for living? How did that affect the quality of your life?
- What warning signs can remind you that you may be getting diverted from your life’s purposes?
02.08 I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.
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