03.30 – Be a warrior, not a worrier
An unchanging characteristic of life is change. And change often puts us into anxiety, especially when it is undesirable, unpredictable or uncontrollable.
Such anxiety, if not addressed properly, it can become chronic and crippling. Then, worry doesn’t remain one of our emotions; it becomes our prominent and dominant emotion. And worrier becomes our defining identity.
How can we avoid this fate?
Some people recommend that we calm ourselves by self-help phrases like “Cool down”, “All is ok”, “Don’t worry”. Such affirmations, even if they help, are largely palliative, not curative, because they don’t address the root of anxiety.
Will solving the problem address the root of anxiety?
No. As changes and the problems that changes cause keep coming repeatedly and unendingly in the world, solving problems will just change, not cure, our worries.
Of course, we need to practically deal with problems. But to overcome worry, we also need to find the root of anxiety.
That root is our undue, disproportionate misidentification with material reality. We are souls who are presently occupying material bodies and interacting with the material world. As long as we seek enjoyment by controlling and manipulating matter, we will be forced to worry.
To end worrying, we need to become warriors. We have to fight against our psychological attachments and intellectual misconceptions that make us misidentify with matter. The Bhagavad-gita (03.30) urges us to stay fixed in spiritual consciousness (adhyatma-cetasah), give up feverishness (vigata-jvarah) and fight (yudhyasva).
Paradoxically, fighting against material identification enables us to perform better at the material level. We are no longer emotionally buffeted by our situations, as happens due to our attachments. By fixing our mental energy at the spiritual level, we can offer our best contribution even at the material level for the service of Krishna and the well being of others.
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight.