To forget that the world is a hurtful place is to place ourselves on a path full of hurts
Suppose we walk out on a thorny path without any footwear. We would hurt our feet. If someone warns us that the way is thorny, they aren’t being pessimistic; they are simply preparing us for the inevitable.
Similar is the Bhagavad-gita’s warning that the world is a place of distress (08.15). Hurts can come upon us at any moment from our own body and mind, from the people around us and from nature. To prepare ourselves for the hurts of material existence, we need to equip our consciousness with spiritual attachment and absorption. Wherever our consciousness is, that’s what we experience most intensely. For example, if we are attached to cricket, then our consciousness may get so caught in a cricket match thousands of miles away that we become oblivious to things and events in our immediate vicinity. Similarly, if we are attached to the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, we will become so absorbed in him that life’s ups and downs won’t affect us that much. Unfortunately, most of us stay in material consciousness, being captivated by the promise of worldly pleasures. And thus we put ourselves on the path to suffering.
We can’t avoid getting hurt in the world, but we can minimize or maximize the hurt depending on whether our consciousness is locked into the world or has expanded beyond the world. Instead of fixating on specific hurts, we need to see the world’s overall nature and seek to spiritualize our consciousness. Then, if and when it is possible, we can work to rectify the specific hurt/
Most importantly, by focusing on spiritualizing our consciousness, we will raise ourselves not only above that particular hurt but also become more connected to the one who is the shelter beyond all hurts.
Think it over:
- When is the Bhagavad-gita’s declaration that the world is a hurtful place not pessimistic?
- How can we shield ourselves from the world’s hurts?
- Which limb
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