Vanity thought #707. A broken clock

Psychotherapy is like comfort food. No one believes in its value but it works surprisingly well for the purpose. As devotees we don’t touch either and we can’t seriously consider Freud’s obsession with our feelings for our mothers as the root of all evil. However, even a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day, the key is to figure out when.

One easy thing we can agree with psychotherapists is that sex is the foundation of all our material desires and all our lives. Once we established that, however, our views start to diverge again. The second time we are in tune is a bit more complex case.

From Bhagavad Gita we know that our bodies are yantras, machines that work under the direction of the gunas. We also know about the law of karma. It’s not so hard to put one and two together, add the direction to see all living beings with equal vision, and realize that in this world we don’t have friends or enemies and so we don’t have any meaningful relationships, too.

There’s no one out there who can give us a million dollars if it’s not allotted to us by karma. We can have relationships with potential donors but without karma’s permission we can’t have any exchanges with them. Similarly, no one can kill or harm us without our karma’s consent.

What it means is that it’s all in our heads – happiness, pain, friendship, animosity, pleasure, suffering – it comes from our own karma, not from interactions with other people. Technically, it comes through interactions with other people but they are not the cause, just agents.

This is where we should agree with shrinks when they pose “How does it make you feel” questions. When deep in the illusion we tend to assign blame for our suffering to others, we tend to see other people as sources of our emotions. In reality, however, our pain is entirely our own. If we want to find a cause of it we should look within ourselves.

This is a very insightful observation to come out form such a ridiculous field. Is it very helpful? It doesn’t bring us closer to Krishna. It helps with operating in this world but that in itself is not a devotional activity. I hope this realization can help me to disengage from common tribulations and seek the Lord who is beyond the duality of the illusion. People are distractive and unavoidable so I think we all need help to deal with them in a proper way, without losing our concentration on Krishna.

So, next time you feel like flipping out remember that it’s not your nagging wife who is so annoying, it’s not your over-protective mother who makes you look uncool, it’s not your competitors who make you look incompetent – it’s all you and you alone. When you interact with people remember that you have nothing to fear from them and nothing to expect from them either.

The only meaningful connection we can have with people is through Krishna. If they appreciate the Lord and we appreciate the Lord we can engage in sankirtana, otherwise we have absolutely nothing to talk about. Real relationships will manifest in the spiritual world, until then we can withdraw from the societal affairs altogether.

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