When things don’t make sense …

Suppose in a forest, a huge fire suddenly breaks out for no apparent reason. Most people will flee in panic. When trained fire-fighters arrive at the scene and assess the situation, they too may not be able to ascertain the fire’s cause. Nonetheless, they will come up with some workable strategies for extinguishing the fire immediately and will defer finding its cause to a later time. 

We too need to be similarly pragmatic when fires break out in our life, taking the form of complexities, perplexities and adversities. When we seem to have done nothing to deserve such situations, it’s understandable if we feel disoriented, dejected, defeated. 

Nonetheless, Gita wisdom can make us like trained fire-fighters. It can equip us with a spiritual understanding of our place and purpose in the world. We are all parts of a whole far bigger than ourselves (Bhagavad-gita 15.07), and we are meant to do our parts in a cosmic order whose underlying wisdom far exceeds ours (09.10). With this understanding, we can shift our focus from trying to make sense of things to trying to make sense in things. That is, we can change our driving question from “Why is this happening to me?” to “What can I do to make things better?” This changed question can decrease the hold of negative emotions on our mind, thereby freeing us to take whatever small steps we can as parts of the solution. And if we act thus in a mood of service and contribution, we will eventually find that things have become better and through it all, we have become stronger and wiser. 

One-sentence summary: 

Even if we can’t make better sense of things, we can make better sense in things — our actions can be sensible even when our situations aren’t.

Think it over:

  • When you are unable to make sense of things, what is your usual reaction?
  • How can Gita wisdom equip us for such situations?
  • Are you facing any difficulty? How can you change your driving question? 

***

09.10: This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.

Author: Chaitanya Charan

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