We are conditioned not by what we are, but by what we are missing

We all have our conditionings that sometimes make us act unwisely, even self-destructively. When some people get overpowered by their conditionings repeatedly, they start being identified accordingly, for example, as alcoholics.

However, even if such a conditioned state is our present reality, it is not our defining reality. The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) indicates that we all are eternal parts of Krishna, the all-attractive supreme. Our defining longing is for an eternal loving relationship with him – relishing that love is our constitutional position and our supreme satisfaction.

Unfortunately, not knowing that we are looking for him, we look for pleasure elsewhere, in the various sense objects presented by our mind and senses. When we indulge in any such object, we enjoy some pleasure. And if we indulge in it repeatedly, it starts seeming irresistible and consumes our consciousness; we crave and slave for it, binge in it and beat ourselves up for being attached.

Equipping us to free our consciousness, Gita wisdom explains that we are conditioned not by any particular material object but by our disconnectedness from Krishna and the sublime joy thereof. Put another way, alcoholics are not alcoholics; they are souls who are missing the joy of Krishna’s love and are tragically seeking it in alcohol.

When we thus spiritually reconceptualize our identity, we stop fighting against our conditioning, recognizing that such fighting keeps us in material consciousness where we remain vulnerable to relapse. Instead, we start fighting to connect ourselves with Krishna by practicing bhakti-yoga. What if our conditioning interrupts that connection? Still, even that intermittent connection gradually spiritualizes our consciousness and provides us higher satisfaction.

By steady bhakti practice, we become increasingly immune to conditioning – not just the one we presently have, but also any others that may allure us in future.


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Our existence and our faith are related causally, constitutionally and consequentially
Knowledge in the mode of ignorance increases ignorance, not knowledge
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