Learn to see material attachments as negative equity
An asset that costs more than what it yields is a negative equity. If we learn that a prospective asset will become a negative equity, we will avoid acquiring it.
Our material attachments to sensual pleasures are like negative equity – the trouble therein far exceeds the pleasure. Though sensual enjoyment is hugely hyped up, the actual pleasure is scandalously short-lived. Still, that fleeting pleasure is so intoxicating that it imprisons our consciousness in repetitive cycles of hankering and lamenting. We hanker for the pleasure; the stronger the attachment, the more the hankering torments us till we just give in, not so much to get pleasure as to get relief from the torment. And after we indulge, we lament that the pleasure ended so soon. Or, if we had been trying to resist the temptation, then we lament that we are so weak-willed that we can’t resist it. The overall effect of material attachment on us is hugely negative – the gratification is far less than the agitation.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (05.12) cautions that the attached get bound. Simultaneously, it guides us to a solution more pragmatic than mere detachment: to attain the peace of freedom from attachment, we need to become spiritually connected. Later (05.29), the Gita reveals whom to connect with: the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, who is our greatest well-wisher. When we understand that he is both the supreme enjoyer and the source of the supreme enjoyment, we see attachment to him as the ultimate positive equity.
As long as we see material attachments as positive equity, we won’t be able to renounce them. But when we learn to see them as negative equity and, more importantly, to see attachment to Krishna as the ultimate positive equity, we start practicing bhakti-yoga wholeheartedly to redirect our attachment from material things to Krishna.
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