Friday, April 5, 2013

you have a choice

Verse 2.49: O Dhana├▒jaya, keep all abominable activities far distant by devotional service, and in that consciousness surrender unto the Lord. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.

Bhakti yoga is a process. It's a process which can naturally be incorporated into any lifestyle with ease. As with any process, it consists of a series of steps and actions that lead to a goal. For those who are interested in the top-most goal (i.e. eternal, everlasting happiness through reconnection with the Supreme), the path is clear. However, for those who may have intermediate goals (i.e. I want to be peaceful, I want to have nice relationships, I want to find meaning in my life etc.), bhakti also outlines perfect processes to achieve these too.

Isn't that awesome? Everything is found in bhakti. So what's the problem? The problem is that some of us may find it challenging to follow steps, what to speak of following them in a specific sequence! Do you ever notice that? Think back to the last time when you had to assemble something. If you're anything like me, you might even forget that the box comes with an instruction manual! I've lost count of how many times I've gotten totally confused and frustrated before remembering, "Oh right. There's a manual. :S Maybe I should look at it!"

Our false ego, that little voice inside us that screams "You're right!" even though deep down we may know we're wrong, often serves as our biggest obstacle. It's that chatterbox that convinces us that we don't need any guidance or help.

By caving into the false ego time and time again, we get robbed of our ability to choose. How? Because the job of the false ego is to keep us entrapped in the conception "I am this body". In fact, the more we identifying ourselves with this illusion, the harder it becomes to take guidance.

And that's exactly what bhakti yoga does. It gives us guidance. One of the most important pieces of guidance that bhakti gives us is: You have a choice to associate with those things that uplift and inspire you.

Note the difference between bhakti yoga and the false ego. Bhakti empowers and challenges us as opposed to the false ego which placates us by saying "It's not your fault. Everything's ok." As spiritual beings, inertia and maintaining the status quo is completely foreign to us. The soul is creative, active, happy, eternal, selfless and always desiring to serve. Remember that the next time you're lying on the couch glued to your TV set!

That's the biggest hurdle we face. Although we may know these things, to actually practice them everyday can be challenging. That's why it's necessary to keep checking to make sure we are actually following the process. If we don't, it's too easy to get lazy and give up. It's only by constantly referring back to our road map, we remain inspired and enlivened.

So remember! You have a choice. Choose to be active, sincere and inspired, everyday!

6 comments:

  1. Such a great post. I could really identify with this because it seems like sometimes when life is at its most challenging, and I know the things that I can do (like chanting and spiritual reading) that can help me get more spiritually focused and see things in a clearer perspective, which brings peace, it's those very thing that my false ego seems to urge me to set aside. Instead it whispers to do more worldly things in order to take my mind off of everything. Which is definitely no way to make spiritual progress or get through the obstacles life throws at me!

    "Although we may know these things, to actually practice them everyday can be challenging. That's why it's necessary to keep checking to make sure we are actually following the process. If we don't, it's too easy to get lazy and give up. "

    I think this is where association with others that follow the same spiritual path as oneself can be critical. Such association can provide not only accountability , helping one stay on track, but it can also be encouraging and inspiring. Living in a material world that is so steeped in the illusory happiness it claims to offer, it can be so easy to be swayed and distracted. Association with others that have the same goal can make all the difference in the world in reminding us just what our goal really is. It definitely helps to silence the ceaseless chattering of the false ego...at least for a period of time!

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    1. Thank you so much for adding that essential point Jessica. Association and friendship with like-minded persons is so crucial because, as you say, it not only keeps us accountable but allows us to remain inspired. Also, bhakti yoga is a personal path. Hence, it only makes perfect sense that inspiration comes from personally associating with others who are also striving for the same goal.

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  2. The best part of the Gita is the simple message one can take away! I just love the way you've interpreted it.

    You've got a book in you! The Gita Companion!

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    1. Thank you so much Vidya! Everything is there in the Gita! This is just my little attempt to share how practical and applicable the teachings of the Gita are in everyday life. :D

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