Verse 4.34: Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
Today's verse is one of the most important verses in the Bhagavad-gita.
This morning, I learned that today is Earth Day which I later on realized I had confused with Earth Hour! Deciding I needed to learn more, I found out that Earth Day is an annual event that is dedicated to holding worldwide events to promote support for environmental protection.
It got me thinking. Why do we, as inhabitants of this earth, need to be reminded to care about and encouraged to honour it? Shouldn't every day be Earth Day? My musings led me to recognizing that there is a great tendency to take things for granted. Despite the fact that the earth gives us everything we need to survive, how conscious are we of that in our day to day lives?
It's a theme I've started to recognize in my own life:
Although difficult at times, it’s important to recognize the actions we perform now, no matter how small, ultimately serve to form the foundation for our future reality
In this instance, the "celebration" of Earth Day should actually serve as an impetus to find ways to effect environmental changes on a daily basis since we are being subjected to the effects of our past actions. Those in North America will be able to commiserate since we just finished experiencing the winter that never wanted to end!
This theme is also a cornerstone for living a life of gratitude, or a life of bhakti. In order to help us foresee how our daily actions will paint our future reality, the Gita recommends that one approach and learn from a qualified teacher - specifically one who not only knows the path but lives the path. One of the reasons why is to help us become consciously grateful.
To act for the long term can be challenging since ultimately it doesn’t require just a change of habits but a change in consciousness. In order to change one’s consciousness or attitude, it requires that one becomes conscious or aware of what’s going on. That’s where guidance from one who lives a life of being conscious of their own actions is key. It’s said that to develop any good qualities, one needs to associate with persons who themselves have it. Becoming conscious of one’s actions is definitely a positive quality!
The natural result of appreciating the guidance of such teachers is gratitude. And when that gratitude starts to grow, one can't help but become conscious of it all the time. The end result is one becomes consciously grateful. It is that conscious gratitude that propels one to not just feel gratitude but act upon it.
In many ways, the earth itself acts as our teacher. So take a minute to think about her, appreciate all that she offers and think of how you can do something for her not just today, but everyday.