13.32 – How the world sees us is not as important as how we see the world

by August 26, 2012

We often worry how the world sees us: “Do people notice me? Which way do heads turn when I arrive?”

We adopt this outside-in focus because the outside world seems much easier to know than the inside self. The school, the TV and the net tell us about the world. But who tells us about the self? Practically no one. As the inside is a disconcertingly dark area, we focus on the outside, an area that seems better lit.

This outside-in focus makes us feel that we are a nobody if we can’t evoke the world’s nod, smile or pat. Unfortunately, what the world approves is often both fickle and superficial: fickle because it changes constantly with the fashions, and superficial because it doesn’t address our innermost needs. Consequently, we feel distressingly insecure, ever-dependent on the world’s unsteady and unsatisfactory judgment.

If we want to be internally secure, we need to adopt an inside-out focus. Gita wisdom aids us in this by systematically informing us about what lies inside: the soul, the real me. The Bhagavad-gita (13.32) indicates that as souls we have nothing to do with the world; our real life is in loving service to Krishna in an eternal spiritual world. This knowledge profoundly alters our perception of the world around us. We see it as a transitional station on our journey to Krishna’s abode. Instead of agonizing about how the world sees us, we focus instead on how we can use the world to develop our loving relationship with Krishna. We learn to see in every worldly situation an opportunity to move on towards our destination.

By developing this vision, we experience security and serenity even amidst the world’s uncertainty


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