05.20 – When life makes us emotionally seasick…
Seasickness is caused by the continuous up-down movement of the ship due to the sea-waves.
Similarly, when we travel through life, the ups and downs of life can make us emotionally seasick. The continuous onslaught of emotions may make us long for calmness just as seasick people long for the steadiness of the land.
We can find that calm by turning away from the outer world and turning inwards towards our spiritual essence: our identity as souls. The Bhagavad-gita (05.20) indicates that when we become spiritually aware (brahma-vit) and spiritually steady (brahmani-sthitah), we are no longer overwhelmed by life’s inevitable dualities.
Remedying our emotional seasickness is a bit more complicated than remedying normal seasickness. Why? Because unlike seasick people who just want to get back to land as quickly as possible, we during our emotional seasickness still want to hold on to the high points of worldly pleasures while wanting to avoid the low points of worldly pains. But that’s impossible; just as we can’t have the crests of the waves without the troughs, we can’t have worldly pleasures without worldly pains.
We fear that without the crests, life won’t be worth living; what would we look forward to? Addressing our concerns, Gita wisdom informs us that beyond the land of immortality lies an ocean of devotion. The goal of life is not just to experience the serenity of our spiritual identity but to go beyond it and savor the ecstasy of our devotional relationship with Krishna. In the ocean of devotion, the fulfillment is not static but dynamic. As the waves in that ocean rise and fall, we experience union and separation from Krishna. But because both are centered on his intense remembrance, both contribute to providing us life’s deepest fulfillment.