To change your life, change the narrative of your life
Suppose three people are carrying bricks. When asked what they are doing, the first replies sullenly, “Can’t you see? I am carrying bricks.” The second answers, “I am earning my living.” The third replies, “I am helping build a temple where thousands will become purified and happy.”
Although all three are doing the same activity, the inner narrative animating them is different. Our narratives imbue our life with meaning and purpose. However, we don’t always choose our narrative consciously; we often accept it subconsciously from the mainstream culture.
Given that today’s culture is largely materialistic, materialism determines our life’s narrative. This narrative defines pleasure and success in terms of acquiring material goods and enjoying sensual indulgences. Such things can never offer anything more than a few moments of fleeting titillation. More detrimentally for our prospects for happiness, the materialistic narrative of life conceals this incapacity of material things to provide happiness by making us believe that happiness lies in the things we don’t have. Thus, we become filled with an insatiable greed that makes us constantly crave for the great-looking things out there. Indeed, the Bhagavad-gita (14.12) indicates that greed is the defining characteristic of a consciousness dominated by the mode of passion, which is concomitant with a materialistic worldview. The materialistic narrative of life thus indentures us to unremitting labor for getting the things out there, thereby keeping us incurably dissatisfied.
To change our life and find real happiness, we need to redefine our life’s narrative. The Gita aids in such redefinition by explaining that we are at our core souls, parts of Krishna; we can find real happiness in developing eternal love for him. When we thus redirect our heart towards him, we find lasting fulfillment in realizing his indwelling presence and relishing his unfailing love for us.
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