Aligning with the Essence of Life

At the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita the hero, Arjuna, is struggling a lot, and he feels really badly about himself.  This is a circumstance that lots of people experience in their lives, and that some people experience throughout their lives--they get stuck in the experience of their inadequacy.

Krishna, who is Arjuna’s chariot driver (and also his guru) explains to Arjuna that there is nothing to feel bad about and nothing to struggle with. Krishna tells Arjuna that through yoga and meditation and other appropriate practices, he can see through to his own divine essence.  He can see through to the infinite resource at the core of our being

It’s not that Arjuna can escape his karma.  Nobody escapes their karma.  Nobody escapes work and difficulty; that’s what life is.  But we can make contact and come into alignment with our essence, the unimaginable resource at our core, and experience its overflowing. Our suffering is not the end of our life but the beginning.  What flows from our constant effort to sustain this alignment is a whole sequence of miracles that have the potential to be unbelievably beautiful.

One of the amazing things about the simple effort to ask within ourselves to grow is that, in this wish to grow, there is the possibility that we will stop rejecting ourselves and and stop constantly dwelling on what we imagine to be our inadequacies. Instead, we begin to establish a paradigm within ourselves where we make contact with and experience a very much deeper place than any tension, struggle, or disappointment can define. Staying in alignment with that place, we begin to take every difficulty, every struggle, and every sense of inadequacy and turn it into an opportunity to refine ourselves more deeply.  We learn to release tensions and allow our creative energy to flow.

Living in this way, instead of being an example of the favorite word that you use to denounce yourself, you are a growing person.  You are connected to your resource and fulfilling the purpose that every living being has come in to this place to fulfill.  We are here to grow, and through our conscious efforts we begin to grow.  Everything that grows takes in energy and is transformed.  

The transformation is not painless.  Look at any large old tree.  What you will see is a living organism that has grown from within itself and as it has grown, it has shattered its boundary, it has shattered its bark, a hundred thousand million times. On a young tree, the bark is completely smooth. On an old tree, it is wrinkled.  It’s wrinkled with the experience of life that is surging from within itself and expanding its structure from within itself over and over again as it grows.  

So the difficulties, the challenges, the inadequacies, and the awkwardness of being a human being do not have to be the defining part of our life experience.  We simply have to understand that we are in this world to grow and make the effort to hold that awareness in spite of the endless amounts of negative feedback that everybody in our culture gets as we move through this world.  In a completely positive way, we remain aligned with the essence of our life and work to express that essence lovingly in everything that we do.  As time passes and we do grow, love is what happens and miracles manifest from that.

Nothing good ever happens from being negative, ever… and nothing changes.  Lovingly acknowledge and do your work and you will grow in every dimension of yourself.

--Swami Chetanananda