Might my own thing not be my own thing?
Many people reject discipline: “I want to be free to do my own thing.”
Our aspiration to be free is natural and laudable. But we need to consider: is my own thing actually my own thing?
What we call ‘my own thing’ usually comes not from us, but from the world. The current materialistic culture parades before us an array of fashions – hairstyles, dress-styles and lifestyles, for example. Some of these catch our fancy, and we anoint them as ‘my own thing’. Over time their charm fades and we transfer the title ‘my own thing’ to some other things from society’s unending gallery of glamor. Thus the purported freedom to do ‘my own thing’ ends up as slavish capitulation to the culture’s dictation.
All of us are unique – spiritually and materially. Spiritually, we are all distinct parts of the all-attractive Supreme Being Krishna. And materially we all have distinctive blends of attitudes and aptitudes that make us who we are. If we distance ourselves from the culture’s infatuating propaganda, we get the reprieve to observe ourselves.
When we complement our own introspection with disciplined devotional service to Krishna, he gives us special intelligence, as the Bhagavad-gita (10.10) indicates. This intelligence illumines our inner terrain and helps us understand that the devotional fulfillment we occasionally relish is a precursor of the everlasting fulfillment that awaits us ahead. This devotional service and the concomitant happiness is our eternal ‘my own thing’.
Additionally, the Krishna-given intelligence also illumines our particular psychophysical nature, revealing the specific talents and temperaments that comprise our material ‘my own thing.’ This enables us to better harmonize our material ambitions with our material nature – and thereby achieve more and contribute better.
Thus does the scriptural discipline of devotional service free us to do ‘my own thing’.
"To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."