We may be taken aback, but we don’t have to go back
When things turn out opposite to our expectations, we mentally shrink back, being surprised or shocked. Such an inner reaction is described by the idiom “being taken aback.” The idiom is derived from our reaction to unexpected events. Suppose we are talking eagerly with someone, bending forward to hear them. If suddenly they speak some shocking words, we shrink back.
Even if we can’t avoid our mind’s backward motion amidst reversals, we can avoid a corresponding physical action. That is, even if we feel disheartened, we don’t have to give up our purpose.
If our purpose were simply to achieve some result in this world, then reversals may impel us to give up. But if we have a purpose higher than worldly results, we can persevere. Gita wisdom gives us the highest purpose for our actions: achieving enduring fulfillment by moving towards our all-powerful, all-loving Lord, Krishna, whose parts we are eternally. When guided by the Gita, we infuse our various activities in this world with devotional purpose. We understand that even if they don’t bring worldly results, they can still take us closer to Krishna when done in a mood of loving service.
The Bhagavad-gita (18.58) assures that when we become conscious of Krishna, by his grace, we will cross over all obstacles. Even if things go wrong, our devotion helps us see beyond that circumstantial reversal to our transcendental purpose of serving Krishna. Being empowered by the conviction that he can and will bring good even out of the bad, we press on in our service, adapting it appropriately amidst the reversal.
When we thus raise our vision from discouraging situations to the supreme encouraging reality – Krishna’s omni-benevolence – we get the strength to counter the mind’s negative reaction and to push on in our divine purpose.
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