08.07 – Let our potentials – not our problems – define us
Our materialistic culture pits us in constant competition against others. Such exposure may make us feel that we have a lot of problems, “I don’t look cool; I don’t talk smart; I don’t work fast.” If we let such problems weigh on us mentally, then we may start feeling inferior and insecure.
To gain relief, we may start exploring spiritual life. But when we encounter the lofty moral standards expected of devotees and see how poorly we measure against those standards, then we may feel troubled by further feelings of inadequacy: “Spiritually too, I am no good.”
Such negative feelings in both material and spiritual life result when we let our problems – not our potentials –define us.
In material life, we think that we are our body; so, based on our bodily inadequacies, we feel insecure. In spiritual life, if we still identify with our body and think of our present morally blemished condition as ‘the real me’, then we simply continue the same bodily misidentification and neglect the real gift of spiritual life.
That real gift is awareness of and access to our enormous spiritual potentials as souls. We are parts of Krishna. He is god and we are godly. Dormant within us are many virtuous qualities and special abilities. The process of devotional service enables us to release these inner potentials for Krishna’s pleasure and our own as well as others’ benefit.
Critical to such release of potential is the repeated Bhagavad-gita injunction (08.07) that we make Krishna the consistent center of our thoughts. This injunction enables us to shift our focus from ourselves and our problems to Krishna and our potentials due to our intrinsic connection with him.
When we thus let our potentials define us, then we can confidently confront and conquer life’s various challenges.