Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
Continuing posts prompted by the prasaadam grantha, "Gita in Daily life" by Sw. Tejomayananda.
At the close of last week's post, it was shown that we have to act upon what we learn in order to gain benefit from that learning, in the same way that medicine must be taken for our ills to be eased. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a reminder of this; " ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि /jnaatvaa shaastravidhaanoktam karma kartumihaarhasi" (16:24), 'having understood the scriptures, act accordingly'. That is fairly plain!
It seems a simple sentence does it not? Think it through a little and what it means in daily life. We all experience life at various times in sorrow and in other times less sorrow. There are multiple reasons for the sorrows, but one key aspect is that of thoughtless action. We all know this - the mind is not focused on the task in hand, for example, so we cut our fingers or burn ourselves. That is in the very practical sense. It can be carried into the more psychological and emotional levels also. If we are not paying full attention, troubles will arise. Conversely, there is the actionless thought - "oh yes that is to be done, no worries, later…" Are we not all guilty of this at some point in each day? Mostly it is harmless, in respect to the world around us. However it harms us, in terms of our spiritual nature.
If we do not act according to our knowledge and understanding, not only is there implied hypocrisy, but also there lies a danger of the knowledge and the understanding starting to change as they get tainted by the actions we are taking. How so? Take the example that we all know the value of rising early, doing exercise, meditation, perhaps some study and such like. Let us say we set 5am as our time to rise each day in order to cover all the necessary actions listed. We will certainly start out well. At some point though, we will find that 'not this morning, I didn't sleep so well…'
Been there done that? Now, we may pick ourselves up from this, either from guilt or because there was genuine case of poor sleep. So we set back to our 5am routine. All good. Till the next falter. There are those who will continually correct themselves and keep getting back to the routine. There are others, though, who will let several mornings go by. The longer this happens the more difficult it becomes to correct the behaviour. What happens then?
There comes an altering in the knowledge and understanding in that the thought may arise "What use this early rising? Birds and animals rise early but where does it serve them? Are they any wiser? How is it serving me?..." It is not that the question is being asked from high philosophical reasoning, but from the perspective of the rationalisation and justification for sloth! Our knowledge has become miscoloured by our behaviour. Instead of acting according to the guidance of our tutors, parents, scriptures, Guru…. We are acting on our own preference and calling it logic.
When knowledge is correctly absorbed, properly assimilated, it naturally becomes a part of our life. The problem lies in the fact that we mistake simply reading or hearing a thing as 'knowing' it. NOT SO! To read the words of Yeshu or Krishna, to hear the words of the minister or Guru is to know that they have knowledge, but is not yet our knowledge. We must become as though we are spiritual scientists. This requires that we put the knowledge to the test thus making it our own. This is the true import of that sentence from the Gita.
This implies that we are making a full and conscious choice to learn about bettering ourselves and advancing our connection with the spirit. We can choose to hit the snooze alarm. Or we can choose to "Arise! Awake!..."