Tuesday, June 11, 2013

don't be fooled by what you see

Verse 3.25: As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.

The Gita speaks of four limitations that all embodied beings face. They are:

1. tendency to cheat others
2. tendency to commit mistakes
3. tendency to fall under illusion
4. having to deal with imperfect senses

It should be noted that these conditions are attributed to the body, NOT the soul. In fact, if anyone feels slighted or even put off by this fact, take comfort in knowing that in no way do these characteristics reflect who you really are. The soul is above these limitations as it is full of eternity, knowledge and bliss.

This knowledge is there to open our eyes to the fact that identifying with the body isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Yoga goes beyond the body and is about making soul connections. Often, when we try to connect with one another, we use our senses to interpret and understand what the other is saying.

In reading today's verse, the limitation of having to deal with imperfect senses really jumped out at me. If we solely rely on our senses to determine what is truth and what isn't, this will invariably limit our ability to understand a person, place or situation effectively. Although actions do normally give a greater glimpse into what a person is thinking or feeling, it's not always the case.

It's especially not the case for those who are practicing bhakti yoga. Living a life of gratitude and detachment by offering the results of one's work may appear externally similar to one who is completely attached to the results of their work. (i.e. two people can work the exact same job, but their consciousness may be so different). If we simply rely on our senses to understand one another, we can land in trouble because:

Consciousness is not something that can be perceived by the eyes.

Acknowledging that we face these limitations, that come hand in hand with owning a material body, actually helps the aspiring yogi to interact with the world more effectively. It reminds them that there is more to life than just the externals.

To be clear, the body itself is in no way bad. It's our attachment to identifying with the body that causes us unnecessary pain and difficulty.

When we realize that the body is an instrument by which we can utilize our talents to do good in the world and offer the results in gratitude to the Divine, we won't ever have to worry about being fooled by our senses. We'll be taking our first step to living a soul-full life. ;)

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