Life is not just a problem-solving exercise – it is essentially a consciousness-raising expedition

When we face problems repeatedly and feel disheartened, we may try to see problems as challenges. Thus, we may, knowingly or unknowingly, conceive of life as a problem-solving exercise: Just as the exercise of lifting weights strengthens us, the exercise of tackling problems strengthens us.

However, when we strengthen ourselves, that is not the sole end in itself; the resulting healthy body is to be used for something constructive. Similarly, solving problems is not the sole end in itself – for what ultimate end is it meant? That knowledge is not provided within a materialistic conception of life. And at the material level, life confronts us with problems that we just can’t solve: old age, disease and death.

To see life’s ultimate purposeful, we need spiritual understanding. The Bhagavad-gita (13.12) states that real knowledge includes recognition of the eternality of spiritual knowledge and the philosophical search for reality. Gita wisdom explains that life is meant for spiritual realization: for understanding our eternality as souls and for developing immortal love for the supreme reality: Krishna. We gain spiritual realization by elevating our consciousness from the material level to the spiritual level by practicing bhakti-yoga.

Thus, we see life primarily as a consciousness-raising expedition. With this vision, we do tackle problems, but even if we can’t solve particular problems, we don’t get disheartened. We see those unsolvable problems as opportunities, as impetuses to raise our consciousness towards Krishna by remembering him and by striving to serve him with tolerance and diligence.

This re-envisioning of life as a consciousness-raising expedition makes life fulfilling and successful. Fulfilling because even amidst unsolvable problems, we keep moving our consciousness closer to Krishna, relishing fulfillment therein. And by consistently raising our consciousness towards him lifelong, when we eventually attain him, we attain life’s supreme success.

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