05.10: From touch-me-not to touched-me-not
We all need a sense of security in our lives. Often, we seek it by trying to build a cocoon around us, by trying to control our lives with an ironclad set of plans, patterns and routines.
Unfortunately, life frequently cracks and occasionally crushes the cocoon. People don’t behave the way we expect them to. Events don’t turn out to be the way we had anticipated they would. Our own body and mind don’t cooperate the way we had presumed they would. These three hope-dashers are known in Vedic parlance as adhibhautika-klesha, adhidaivika-klesha and adhyatmika-klesha respectively.
When our hopes get thus dashed, we sometimes go into an hyper-defensive mode, resenting whatever goes wrong and lashing out at whoever we feel is to be blamed. We become somewhat like human touch-me-nots, two-legged versions of the plant which hyper-reacts to any threatening stimulus. To our dismay, we find ourselves exploding at small provocations. Nothing seems to help.
Gita wisdom can help where all else fails. It helps us understand that the problem lies not in the outer situation, but in our inner expectation. We are expecting security where it just doesn’t exist: at the material level where change is inevitable and inescapable.
We need to seek security in the right place: at the unchanging spiritual level in our eternal identity and our everlasting relationship with Krishna. Once we find that inner security, material upheavals lose their sting. We function at the material level without being affected by it, like, as the Bhagavad-gita (5.10) indicates, a lotus leaf untouched by water. This doesn’t mean that we become stone-like, but that we become motivated by a spiritual vision and a devotional purpose that dwarfs material upheavals.
Then adversities enter and depart our lives, leaving our core untouched.