Spirituality is not about abandoning but about reclaiming
Some people fear: “Won’t practicing spiritual life require me to abandon my material things?”
This fear stems from a fundamental misapprehension about what is actually ours.
We think of material things as ours, but are they really ours? They may be legally in our name and may be presently in our possession. But how long will they last with us? At any moment, an economic upheaval can strip them away from us. Even if that doesn’t happen, at some inevitable future moment, the upheaval of death will take us away from them.
This analysis is not meant to deny the obvious: we need them for our present existence. But acknowledging the obvious doesn’t require us to be oblivious of the whole picture. Otherwise, we unwittingly succumb to the totalitarianism of materialism and become indoctrinated with an irrational phobia, even paranoia, of the spiritual.
We are souls presently encased in material bodies, so presently both our spiritual side and our material side need due attention. But ultimately we belong to the spiritual level of reality. There, we have an eternal loving relationship with Krishna, wherein we belong to him and he belongs to us. That devotional possession is the only thing that can grant everlasting fulfillment. And as Krishna is always present in our heart, we have never really lost him – we have just lost our awareness of his presence. Regular practice of bhakti enables us to regain that awareness and reclaim our eternal possession.
For reclaiming the spiritual, Gita wisdom doesn’t ask us to reject the material; rather, it urges (06.17) us to strive for an intelligent balance between the material and the spiritual.
Why should we let the fear of abandoning that which never really belongs to us deprive us of reclaiming that which is never really lost to us?
He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.