Just because we can do the impossible doesn’t mean we can do everything
Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary – what is the spiritual perspective on this saying?
To understand, let’s first differentiate between the impossible and everything.
We can do the impossible: Many of our limitations are self-imposed; they are justifications of our lazy mind, which is averse to the hard work necessary for doing anything ambitious. Disregarding our mind, when we strive determinedly in a mood of service to the Whole, the Whole empowers us to do things that we had considered impossible.
We can’t do everything: Though some of our limitations are mere mental constructs, not all are. Materially and spiritually both, we have limitations. We are finite souls, presently living in fallible, fragile, fleshly bodies. We are not God; only God is God. When God empowers us, we may do the impossible. But God is not bound to empower us to do everything. Even if we long to do something, he may empower someone else to do it. Or he may decide that it needn’t happen at all.
To illustrate this difference between the impossible and everything, consider Arjuna’s example. He was urged to fight the Kurukshetra war with the assurance that his enemies were already killed by divine arrangement (Bhagavad-gita 11.33). During that war, he achieved the impossible on several occasions, most famously when he penetrated through the entire Kaurava army to fell Jayadratha, the vile prince responsible for the death of Arjuna’s son, Abhimanyu. Yet despite achieving such impossible feats, Arjuna couldn’t achieve everything – he couldn’t save Abhimanyu, or for that matter any of Abhimanyu’s brothers.
Divine empowerment is both unquestionably real and unquestionably independent – by understanding these twin truths about empowerment, we can resolutely push against the limitations coming from our lethargic mind and gracefully accept the limits coming from divine will.
Think it over:
- How can we do the impossible?
- Why can’t we do everything?
- What are two truths about divine empowerment? How does understanding them shape our actions?
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