Life may be full of problems, but we don’t have to be one of them
Life is tough. We all face problems. When multiple problems attack us, we may feel overwhelmed, resentful, hopeless. These feelings can induce knee-jerk reactions that only make things worse. By such emotions and reactions, we become an addition to the problems confronting us.
How can we avoid aggravating our problems? By understanding two things: the nature of problems, and our identity different from those problems.
The nature of problems: Problems can arise, broadly speaking, from the situations we are going through, from the dispositions of people we are working with and from the limitations we ourselves have. Gita wisdom explains that inherent to material existence are these three sets of problems: situational (adhidaivika), dispositional (adhibhautika) and limitational (adhyatmika).
Our identity different from such problems: We are indestructible souls. We exist as conscious observers, above all problems at a higher, spiritual level of reality. Just as the sky exists above the world, we exist above the world with all its problems (Bhagavad-gita 13.33). If we remind ourselves that we are imperishable witnesses who have weathered many problems in the past and will weather these problems too, we start feeling calmer.
Moreover, spiritual practices such as bhakti-yoga help us raise our consciousness to the supremely attractive object of consciousness, Krishna. When we focus on him, knowing that he is in control and is our benefactor (05.29), a sublime serenity starts streaming into us. When we focus on him in a mood of prayer, seeking to understand how we can serve him amidst our problems, he gives us the intelligence to deal with those problems (10.10).
By thus gaining access to serenity and clarity, we shift our position from being a part of the problems to become a part of the solution.
Think it over:
- How do we become a part of the problems facing us?
- How can understanding our identity calm us?
- How can bhakti-yoga help us become a part of the solution?
13.33 The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, although it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul situated in Brahman vision does not mix with the body, though situated in that body.
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