When attention seems like detention, we need education
Attention is crucial for enjoying anything. When a reputed sports player is in action, fans enjoy by attentively watching all the action and even the replays.
We need attention to relish devotional life too. While performing spiritual activities, we experience devotional happiness only when we become internally attentive to the presence of Krishna.
Otherwise, if we are inattentive in, say, our daily meditation, we soon find the meditation sessions uninspiring and uninteresting. At such times, attention feels like detention. The Gita injunction to be attentive seems like a deprivation of our mental freedom to think of more enjoyable things.
But the same Bhagavad-gita (06.21: sukham atyantikam) declares that the spiritual platform offers the ultimate happiness. Why don’t we experience this happiness? Because of misdirection of desires caused by deficient conviction.
Krishna, being the all-attractive Supreme Person, is the reservoir of all happiness. When we concentrate on him, we relish spiritual happiness far greater and deeper than any material pleasure. But we are not yet convinced that he is the source of the supreme happiness. Instead, we believe that worldly objects are the sources of real happiness. So, even while doing devotional activities externally, we internally desire worldly objects instead of Krishna. Our situation becomes like that of sports fans forced to watch one sport when they desire to watch another sport on a different TV channel. Just as they would feel detained, so do we.
Our feelings of boredom are signs that we need to restrengthen our intellectual convictions. Contemplative scriptural study is a potent conviction-booster. By such educational study, we will feel inspired to redirect our desires to Krishna. Once we become desirous of him, we will see attention not as detention but as the gateway to supreme satisfaction.
“In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the Self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the Self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difﬁculty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.”