Navigate the troughs of consciousness by focusing on the peak
As aspiring devotees, we may find the state of our consciousness oscillating up and down like a sine wave. We may feel sometimes attracted and sometimes averse to Krishna. The feelings of attraction and aversion correspond respectively to the peaks and the troughs of the sine wave of our consciousness.
We enjoy the peaks. During these positive phases, we find ourselves cheerful and purposeful. We feel cheerful because our attraction to Krishna gives us inner satisfaction. And we feel purposeful because our satisfaction convinces us that we are on the right path and inspires us to press on enthusiastically.
Conversely, we dread the troughs. During these negative phases, we find ourselves cheerless and purposeless. We feel cheerless because our aversion to Krishna drains away all our inner satisfaction. And we feel purposeless because our inner dryness makes us doubt whether we are on the right path and whether we might be better off taking an about-turn.
Gita wisdom allays our doubts by identifying the cause of our oscillatory feelings. They arise from the three modes, which influence all living beings in the material world, even aspiring devotees. The Bhagavad-gita (14.23) urges us to take the role of observers while dealing with the natural and predictable effects of the modes. This role helps us understand that what we consider as our inner feelings of aversion, the troughs, are actually outer influences of the modes. More importantly, we recognize that the feelings of attraction, the crests, are our original feelings. Our present experiences of those feelings are the precursors of what awaits us eternally if we just persevere in devotional service, thereby transcending the modes.
By such philosophical contemplation and devotional perseverance we can navigate through the troughs and advance steadily towards a perennial peak of constant attraction for Krishna.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities – such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.”