When life is uncomfortable, thank God that it is not unbearable
We all experience discomfort at times. The discomfort may be because of loneliness, boredom, overwork, worry, annoyance and so forth. Such feelings are obviously not pleasant. Still, if we let them come upon us unchecked, they will overwhelm us, putting us in a foul mood that may recur and rise each time discomfort occurs till irritability may even become our default disposition.
How can we avoid this downward spiral of our emotions? One way is by short-circuiting those emotions. When an electrical current is flowing in a particular channel that is unsafe, if we cut off the wire, the current will no longer flow. The same can apply to the flow of our emotions too.
One way to short-circuit our emotions is to see our particular situation not in comparison with how we wanted it to be, but in comparison with the overall nature of the world. While we all aspire for happiness, the world can send distress our way in myriad ways. Indeed, distress is the most defining and most undeniable reality of life. Stressing this harsh reality about the world, the Bhagavad-gita (08.15) conveys that the world we live in is a place of distress.
Given the world’s nature, we can always consider that however bad our situation is, it could always be worse. Such thinking is not meant to trivialize our discomfort, but to contextualize it. Even if our discomfort is real and undeniable, still if we consider that things could have been worse, we can paradoxically feel better. And if we can be thankful that things aren’t worse, we can divert our energy from feeling sorry for ourselves to working on making our situation better. Such a combination of positive emotion, intention and action can surely make the situation better or at least make our consciousness better.
Think it over:
- How can our emotions make our situation worse?
- How can Gita wisdom help us reframe our situation?
- How can we make our situation better?
08.15 After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
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