To keep small things small, keep big things big

Suppose we are driving on a crowded lane and we notice someone driving wildly on an adjacent lane. If we get angry at their irresponsible driving and start gesticulating and yelling at them, we may run into danger on our own lane. We need to keep small things small.

But how do small things become big in the first place? To understand, let’s compare our mind to a computer screen. There, while we are focusing on one thing, many other thoughts pop up. If we uncritically dwell on such stray thoughts, they become big and distract us. 

Even after we understand how small things become big, keeping them small is not easy. Why not? Because the mind’s pop-ups come without any dismiss buttons; we can’t easily drive stray thoughts out of our mind. What, then, can we do about them? Neglect them. 

To neglect small things, we need some big thing to attend to. Further, we need to remind ourselves of that thing’s importance and conscientiously direct our attention toward it. A pertinent psychological principle is: the more we dwell on anything, be it small or big, the bigger it becomes in our consciousness, thereby making other things small. If we focus on keeping big things big, small things concomitantly stay small. Even if some small thing remains in our mind, it can’t distract us.

The Bhagavad-gita expands our vision of what the really big things are. We are souls who are on a multi-life journey of spiritual evolution. During this evolution, we have faced many material ups and downs – such upheavals come and go, being temporary (02.14). If we focus in all situations on how we can evolve spiritually and thus keep that big thing big in our consciousness, we can progress calmly through all forms of material disturbance toward eternal transcendence (02.15). 

 

Think it over:

  • Why is keeping small things small difficult?
  • How can we keep small things small? 
  • How does Gita wisdom help us keep small things small? 

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