05.22: Be restrained to avoid being strained
Many of us feel strained by the pressure of having so many things to do.
Actually, our strain frequently originates not as much in how much is on our hands as in how much is on our mind. Here’s how.
We are subjected to an endless bombardment of media images that sometimes whisper and sometimes scream to us how we should be: what we should wear, what gadgets we should brandish and so forth. As we recognize grudgingly that we won’t be able to achieve most of these media ideals, our often-subconscious expectations pave the way to our inevitable frustrations. This combined weight of expectation and frustration burdens us internally more than the weight of the workload externally.
On many occasions, we may not have the power to change our external workload. Therefore, the only realistic way to avoid becoming strained is by becoming restrained, by resolving internally not to be seduced by the media images. The Bhagavad-gita (5.23) indicates that those who tolerate the urges of desire and anger become connected (yuktah) to attain a glorious next life.
Does this tolerance require a dry, joyless abstinence, as when a diabetic person abstains from sugar?
Not at all. The same Gita verse states that tolerance makes us satisfied even in this life (sukhi).
Gita wisdom helps us discover a higher, inner happiness by enabling us to connect devotionally with Krishna, who is the source of all joy. When we cultivate thoughts of Krishna: his beauty and glory, his message and his mission, then our mental life becomes profoundly enriched. This enrichment of our mental life helps us as byproducts to become restrained and also helps us tap hitherto dissipated mental energy for coping better with life’s unavoidable strains.
An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.