18.22 – Tune in to yourself to best tune in to the world
Some people can’t live without continuous external stimulation. Every few minutes, they check their cellphones for the latest stock prices or the breaking news or the cricket scores.
We may need to be in tune with the world, but we don’t need to be dependent on or addicted to external stimulation. That sort of tuning in to the world tunes us out of ourselves. It disconnects us from our core values, our cherished principles, our deepest priorities. It reduces us from conscious beings with meaning to reactionary robots geared for little more than survival amidst the relentless assault of daily upheavals.
Our awareness of current affairs may make others’ jaws drop, but that doesn’t stop our heart from dropping. Our unawareness of our self slowly but surely pushes our heart into a free fall deep into the abyss of ultimate meaninglessness. The lack of answers to life’s fundamental questions like “Who am I? What is life? What actually counts in life?” saps at our vitals, making us empty shells that keep functioning based on appearance, not substance. The Bhagavad-gita (18.22) declares such lopsided obsession with a fraction of reality to be knowledge in the mode of ignorance.
We are souls whose true nature is to delight in an eternal loving connection with Krishna. The process of devotional service enables us to tune in to our true nature.
After we invest time regularly to tune in to our true selves, then we can tune in to the world in a way that is transformational. Externally we are able to act intelligently and productively for our and others’ best interests. And internally we are able to better realize spiritual truths. In this symbiosis of our outer and inner world we discover a life that is simultaneously stimulating and fulfilling.
And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.