When the urgent seems important and makes us impotent
Suppose we have ten urgent things to do that all seem equally important. If these ten things require us to go in ten different directions, we will become paralyzed by indecision and be rendered impotent.
Even if we try to do one of those things, we worry about the next things to be done. Being distracted, we don’t effectively complete what we are currently doing; consequently, when we start doing the next thing, we worry not just about the remaining things to be done, but also about the previous things that weren’t done well. And if we have to redo any of those things, then it isn’t just our worry that gets doubled, but also our expense of time and energy. Thus, even if we are doing things, we are rendered incompetent in doing them well.
How can we avoid such incompetence? By not letting others pressure us into believing that what is urgent for them is necessarily important for us. To prevent such equalization, we need to calmly analyze which things are the most important for us. Taking the time out for such calm analysis can seem like poison, especially if the urgent pressurizes us too much. Nonetheless, if we can endure that poison, nectar will await us (Bhagavad-gita 18.37); we will be able to focus on the things that are truly important and do them to the best of our capacity.
If the pressure of the urgent seems too strong, what can we do? Strengthen ourselves internally by engaging in spiritual practices. That can increase our inner awareness and connectedness with the things that matter, thereby immunizing us to superfluous things such as worldly pressures.
When everything urgent seems important, it makes us impotent or incompetent; take time out to determine the important and differentiate it from the urgent.
Think it over:
- When too many things seem important, how does it make us impotent?
- How does the pressure of urgent things render us mentally impotent?
- How can we resist the pressures of the urgent?
18.37: That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
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