Why we need to improve ourselves

We all know various areas where we can improve ourselves: exercise regularly, become better-organized, meditate earnestly. 

Yet we often neglect such self-improvement. Why? Because we think, “It’s a casual choice. If I do it, that’s nice; I will become better. But if I don’t, it won’t matter much; my life will still go on the way it is going on now.” 

However, will our future simply be a continuation of our present? Unlikely. Our future challenges may well be tougher than their present counterparts. Amid difficulties, we suffer not just because of what happens to us, but because of how we respond. And what enables us to respond constructively, not destructively, is virtue. If we lack in virtue, adversity will drive us toward resentment, self-destructiveness and violence, thereby making bad situations worse. If we have cultivated virtue, we will face adversity responsibly, resourcefully, resiliently. 

While we can cultivate many virtues to improve ourselves, one virtue we absolutely need is a more spiritualized consciousness. The Bhagavad-gita cautions that we all are headed for the distresses of old age, disease, death and rebirth (13..09). And these distresses will afflict us more if our consciousness is locked in matter (13.22). 

How does our consciousness’ location affect our distress? Suppose our consciousness is locked in cricket. When our favorite cricket team loses an important match, we won’t just be disappointed; we may well be devastated. Similarly, if our consciousness is locked in our body, we will suffer enormously when time deteriorates and destroys our body. 

How can we spiritualize our consciousness? Using the Gita’s philosophical insights and potent practices. When we thus invest our consciousness in spirit, we will not only suffer less, but will also find greater spiritual solace. 

One-sentence summary:

Self-improvement is not just a casual choice to be better; it’s a serious necessity to suffer less. 

Think it over:

  • Why do we often neglect self-improvement?
  • How may neglecting self-improvement increase our suffering?
  • How can a more spiritualized consciousness help us face life’s adversities? 

***

13.22: The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.

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2 Comments

  1. Hare Krishna Prabhu,
    Very nice article. absolute wisdon and eye-opener.

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