When you feel like giving up, start looking up – not sentimentally, but spiritually

When life seems overwhelming, we may feel like giving up. As a last-ditch effort, we may look up. How much looking up helps will depend on how we look up: sentimentally or spiritually. To understand the difference, consider a metaphor.

Suppose someone is flailing in a stormy ocean. They may look up for someone to come and calm the waves. Or they may look up for someone to rescue them from the ocean. The first expectation is sentimental and unrealistic: the ocean can’t be easily calmed; and even if calmed, it will soon become stormy.

Spiritual texts often compare the material world to an ocean. The world may sometimes look calm, but things can go south in moments. To look up sentimentally means to hope that someone from above will magically fix our problems. To look up spiritually means to raise our consciousness to the spiritual level: to understand that reality has two levels, material and spiritual; that we as souls belong to the indestructible spiritual level; and that the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, is our ultimate shelter. When we thus raise our consciousness, we aren’t that much troubled by life’s dualities.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.58) assures that if we become conscious of Krishna, we will pass over all obstacles by his grace. The usage “pass over” signifies that obstacles may remain, but grace will enable us to get over them. Thus, this verse recommends not a sentimental looking up, whereby obstacles are magically removed, but a spiritual looking up, whereby we evolve enough to ensure that obstacles don’t hold us back.

If we look up sentimentally, we may sometimes feel that no one is helping us. But if we look up spiritually, we will always find ourselves helped: our raised consciousness will always provide us relief.

 

Think it over:

  • What does looking up sentimentally mean?
  • What does looking up spiritually mean?
  • What resources can help you to look up spiritually?

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