Our conditionings need cautioning and cushioning

Suppose we are driving in a car that is prone to jerks and jolts. We have to drive cautiously, and our seats have to be cushioned.

Similarly, we need cautioning and cushioning during our life-journey. We are souls driving bodily machines that have their particular conditionings arising from their psychophysical natures. These conditionings make us prone to jerks and jolts, which can be minimized by appropriate cautioning and cushioning.

Cautioning means that we guard against overdoing things that are habitual to us. For example, if we have a kshatriya nature, we will be innately inclined to lead, manage, delegate. However, this inclination, if unmonitored, can degenerate into a dismissive, domineering attitude that alienates others and jerks us off-course from being a constructive leader.

Urging us to be cautious, the Bhagavad-gita (03.34) recommends that we not carried away by our natural attachments and aversions. Yet the next verse (03.35) urges us to persevere with actions that are in harmony with our nature. Why? Because our nature can’t be curbed completely; it shapes our thoughts, perceptions, actions – in fact, our entire life. Our nature needs to be channelled constructively.

For such channelling, we need to be cushioned from responsibilities that don’t come naturally to us. Otherwise, we make a mess of things, thereby troubling ourselves and troubling others. Cushioning happens in a society when its leaders engage people according to their strengths. Thus, mover-and-shaker kshatriyas are cushioned from the responsibility of deliberating and teaching profound wisdom-texts – that is the forte of intellectually inclined brahmanas.

Unfortunately, today’s society doesn’t engage people according to their natures. Still, we can individually harmonize ourselves with our nature. By introspecting to understand our strengths and weaknesses, we can arrange for the necessary cautioning and cushioning. When we channel our nature accordingly, we can make constructive contributions externally and relish deep satisfaction internally.

Think it over:

  1. While working according to our nature, why do we need to be cautious?
  2. While working according to our nature, why do we need cushioning?
  3. When society doesn’t engage us according to our nature, what can we do?

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