02.16 – Are we eternalizing the present?
When we face problems, they sometimes overwhelm us so much that we can’t think of anything else. We feel as if the problem will never be solved. The dread of living with the problem for all time to come cripples our ability to deal with it constructively. At such times, we succumb to the error of eternalizing the present, by imagining mistakenly that the future will be a linear continuation of the present.
To regain our perspective during such times, we can seek solace in a mantra-like verse section from the Bhagavad-gita (2.16): nasato vidyate bhavo “Of the non-existent, there is no endurance.” The word asat reminds us that the temporary being fleeting is almost as if non-existent. It exists now, but will soon be over. A major exam, a critical job interview, a vital public speech – hindsight helps us see that all such past challenges, no matter how important, were not worth getting paralyzed with tension. They came and they went. So will the present problem.
What if the problem seems likely to stay lifelong with us? Gita wisdom reassures us that our life is much bigger than this lifetime, for we are eternal souls. The same Gita verse continues: nabhavo vidyate satah “Of the eternal there is no cessation.” Waiting for us in that eternal life is our ultimate legacy, a treasure that is available for us at every moment including the present moment. That supreme treasure centers on our all-powerful beloved Krishna. Once we connect with him through devotion and relish the sweetness of his love, the present, no matter how imposing, will no longer seem crushing. Instead, by rendering devotional service and receiving Krishna’s grace, we will become inspired, guided and empowered to integrate the present into our growth path to a glorious future: eternal life with Krishna.