The resilience of the human spirit reflects our longing for and our belonging to transcendence
Life is tough. The difficulties that befall us can be morale-sapping. One thing that inspires us to persevere is stories of people overcoming challenges. Their resilience is often astonishing and thrilling.
Some such stories are celebrated, but many more remain unsung. What makes so many people so resilient? At one level, the answer is the character of those people: their determination, creativity and vigor. At another level, however, the answer is a universal underlying human conviction: “We are meant for something better than just struggling, suffering and succumbing.”
Gita wisdom explains that this conviction reflects our belonging to transcendence. We are spiritual beings who are parts of the all-attractive Supreme, Krishna, the reservoir of all bliss (15.07). We long for joy because our innate nature is joyful.
As long as we don’t know about our spirituality, we seek joy in materiality: in worldly possessions and connections. And in such pursuits, some people are remarkably resilient. While their stories are heroic, their stories are also tragic: everything falls apart with the eventual onslaught of old age, disease and death.
Thankfully however, that tragedy is avoidable: the joy we seek at the material level is found enduringly at the spiritual level. Everything attractive manifests a spark of Krishna’s all-attractiveness (10.41); whatever we seek resiliently in material things, it is found in its fullness in Krishna.
If we redirect toward Krishna the resilience we usually exhibit in pursuing material things, we will get far greater returns. In fact, we humans have that capacity for spiritual resilience. The human spirit is so resilient because in human beings, the soul’s consciousness is developed enough to intuit some sense of transcendence: that something exists beyond the material.
It’s because we belong to and long for transcendence that we untiringly pursue joy and ultimately relish it.
Think it over:
- How are people resilient?
- What makes some people so resilient?
- How do we have the potential for spiritual resilience?
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