Obsession isn’t just a distractor from absorption; it is also a demonstrator of absorption

Some bhakti seekers ask, “My mind gets so easily distracted by worldly things. Is it possible to become absorbed in Krishna?”

Yes, it is.

If we contemplate not what we get distracted from but what we are distracted towards, we can see absorption in action. Suppose we are distracted towards some sport like cricket. We lose ourselves in a match happening far, far away from where we are. That’s absorption.

Actually, that state is better described as obsession, which is often the unhealthy version of absorption. Absorption connotes losing oneself in something positive and beneficial, whereas obsession connotes losing oneself in something negative and harmful. Moreover, absorption results from intentionally directing our consciousness towards an object, as might a student who strives to study a subject and becomes interested in it. Whereas obsession involves the consciousness’ helpless gravitation towards an object, as might a student who starts playing a video game and gets hooked to it. Still, obsession demonstrates the same underlying principle that enables absorption: our capacity to lose ourselves in something distant from our physical location.

Why do we get much more easily lost in material things than in spiritual things? Because of our prolonged familiarity with the material – not because of any innate incompatibility with the spiritual.

If we just repeatedly expose ourselves to Krishna, he too will become familiar to us. And if we expose ourselves to him in the association of those intensely absorbed in him, our familiarity will become imbued with intensity, thereby making absorption in him easier, even relishable. The Bhagavad-gita (12.09) assures that if we diligently strive to fix our mind on Krishna, we will become attached to him.

Thus, our material obsessions can, when seen from an informed perspective, encourage us in our endeavors for spiritual absorption.

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