Revealing our feeling is the beginning of healing
At the start of the Bhagavad-gita (01.29), Arjuna reveals to Krishna the feelings of anxiety and misery that are overwhelming him. Seeking relief, he surrenders to Krishna (02.07). And the Gita concludes with Arjuna’s declaration (18.73) that his negative feelings have been removed – he has been healed
Bhakti-yoga, which is the Gita’s central recommendation, is essentially a process for healing our feelings. We are presently in an emotionally diseased state because our feelings are misdirected towards material things. As material things are changing and fleeting, attachment to them ends always in misery. Psychosis, neurosis, complexes and all such emotional problems originate in our misguided desire to enjoy matter.
Revealing our feeling is only the beginning of healing – it is not itself healing.
Bhakti-yoga purifies our emotions, redirecting them from matter to Krishna. When we practice bhakti, we need to, like Arjuna, reveal to our spiritual mentors our feelings, especially those feelings that strongly affect us. However, we need to remember that revealing our feeling is only the beginning of healing – it is not itself healing. We shouldn’t stay stuck in the beginning, endlessly recycling old hurts and hang-ups, dumping our emotional load on others, and overall indulging in a pity party.
To actually be healed, we need to practice bhakti determinedly. So, just as patients inform their physicians about their symptoms to learn about the treatment, we inform our mentors about our feelings to learn how we can best practice bhakti.
Analyzing our feelings under guidance can help us better understand our disease and our cure. The worldly things that trigger wild feelings within us are symptoms of our disease – they show us our attachments and weaknesses, the things we need to guard against. The devotional things that trigger sublime feelings within us comprise our customized spiritual therapy – by doing those activities more, we can get a higher taste that makes austerities tolerable and bhakti yoga relishable.
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