We are just extras in others’ plots
We often worry what others think about us – without realizing how little they think about us. We are usually extras in their life-plots. Let’s see how.
Others have their own dreams, their own obligations and their own problems. Thus they live in their own mental universes and therein struggle to actualize their dream-plots. In those plots, they themselves are the central protagonists and we are supposed to be obliging extras.
Understanding our insignificance for others doesn’t mean that we become insensitive to everyone. We need relationships. So, whenever we have the opportunity, the facility and the reciprocity to develop deep relationships with those who are truly important for us, we need to invest the necessary thought. Such investment is especially vital for our relationship with our devotee-guides.
However, instead of such intelligent investment, we often obsess over what others, especially worldly people, think of the way we dress, talk, eat and so forth. The fear of their disapproval, especially their sarcastic comments, often prevents us from living according to spiritual principles. To break free from this fear, we can remind ourselves that we are extras for them; they are commenting about us not because they are deeply concerned about us but because they are irritated by our refusal to be obliging extras in their plots. By understanding this reality, we can stop giving them extra space in our mental universe. Thus we can become equipoised amidst the world’s praise and criticism, as the Bhagavad-gita (14.24) recommends.
The only person who thinks constantly about us and so deserves a prominent place in our mental universe is Krishna. In his plot, we have our own eternal role. Contemplating how to reclaim that role by orienting our lifestyle devotionally is the most rewarding investment of our mental energy.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities – such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.”