The mind often recasts antipathy as inability – what it doesn’t want to do, it presents as if it can’t do
Suppose a child doesn’t want to study a particular subject, say, math. He may protest to his mother, “I can’t do this.” If the mother naively believes the child, then the child will never learn. Instead, an assertive parent expertly pushes the child to study.
Our mind is like that child. Anything worthwhile in life almost always requires effort. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.37) states that meaningful joys seem to be like poison initially, but turn out to be like nectar eventually. Unfortunately, we falter at the poison stage and keep postponing difficult things such as an exam in a subject our mind doesn’t like. Eventually however, when we can’t postpone it any more, we get down to doing it, as when an exam is just the next day. Once we start, we soon experience that it wasn’t as difficult as our mind had depicted.
Knowing this, if we persevere through the initial phase when we are enduring the poison, we will come to the nectar. Once we glimpse that nectar, we discover that we can do what we had earlier believed was impossible for us. Not only that, we also gain greater belief that we can challenge our supposed limits in other life-areas too. Therefore, rather than accepting our mind’s diagnosis that we can’t do something, we can focus on analyzing whether we can take any small steps toward doing it and on taking those steps.
And the most important area where we need to challenge ourselves in our spiritual growth. We are at our core souls, who are parts of the divine and are replete with spiritual virtues. If we commit to growing spiritually by striving to serve the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, we can become wiser, tougher, happier.
Think it over:
- What is the nature of meaningful joys?
- What happens when we get down to doing difficult things?
- When pursuing anything worthwhile, how can we persevere through the initial poison phase?
18.37 That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
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