Why dealing only with today’s problems today can be short-sighted

Suppose a town is situated on the banks of a river that floods repeatedly. Whenever floods come, everyone endeavors to rebuild. But then the river floods again, and the same effort is repeated. If everyone is too caught in rebuilding, they may never ask a bigger question: “Is staying here worthwhile? In the long run, will relocating elsewhere be less expensive and troublesome than rebuilding repeatedly?”

Similarly, problems often flood into our lives, causing disruption, even destruction. We labor to put the pieces of our life together, and then life breaks things again. If we get too caught in putting the broken pieces together repeatedly, we may never ask a bigger question: “Am I subjected to these problems because I am invested in something intrinsically unsafe? Am I attached to something unessential, unimportant or unproductive? Is there something better I can invest myself in?” Asking such big questions is the womb of the spiritual quest. 

At the Bhagavad-gita’s start, when Arjuna was confronted with the huge problem of a catastrophic fratricidal war, he didn’t ask just a functional question: “How can I fight this war? ” He asked a bigger question: “What is dharma, the right thing to do?” (02.07). In response, Krishna spoke the Gita as a guidebook for raising consciousness, for pursuing life’s bigger purposes, and for investing in spiritual areas that are more enduring and fulfilling. 

If we are courageous enough to ask big questions, not just tackle daily problems, the Gita stands ready to help us find life-changing answers. 

One-sentence summary:

Dealing only with today’s problems today can be short-sighted if it distracts us from asking big questions and discovering answers that enrich our life with bigger purpose and greater fulfillment. 

Think it over:

  • What’s wrong with dealing only with today’s problems today?
  • What was significant about the question Arjuna asked?
  • What problems consume your energy the most? What big questions can you ask about those problems?

***

02.07: Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Time and tide waits for no man

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  2. Hare Krishna Prabhuji, your articles are so enlivening and makes me think the way I lead life and the way I should.

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