Today I ordered Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita by Ram Dass and am super excited about my purchase. I’ve read through Gita once now and it’s without a doubt one of the books if not the book that has had the most profound influence on me, on how I view life in general and my life in particular…In case you’re not comfortable with the idea of God, you can simply substitute it for Self, True Self, which is unchanging and eternal, which was never born and will never die. I like to compare our True Self to a screen in the movies – it’s the only thing that is real, yet nobody notices it. The audience is so fully immersed in the images projected onto it, that they miss the only real thing in the whole place. And the same thing happens outside the movies. For no apparent reason we keep identifying ourselves with our bodies, thoughts, feelings, emotions…all the things that aren’t even real, in the sense that they are impermanent and ever changing. But the nature of life is such that our bodies will fail us and then it’s good to know we’re not our body. And when we’re consumed by fear, grief or burning with anger it’s a relief to know we’re not our feelings. Our feelings are merely an energy, ever changing, ever flowing. Our True Self is never affected by wordly matters and this we should call to our minds in trying and challenging times.
Bhagavad Gita is thus a manual for good living and also a manual for good dying. It emphasises karma yoga or selfless action as a means of self-realization. And it’s this selfless action that I find crucial in the 21st century, when the vast majority of people are obsessed with themselves and blind for the needs of others. Gita truly is a self-help book for all of us, especially for those suffering from a bad case of inflated ego and individualism.
I wish you all a sunny weekend. And remember always:
You are nothing.
And being nothing, you are everything.
(Image by Patricia Ariel.)