“This material world is not a fit place for a gentleman,” explained Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami. “This whole material world is like a stool house,” he said. “You don’t loiter around, you just come
in, do your business and leave.” This somewhat gross metaphor could be easily misunderstood and seen as a callous and irresponsible view of our role on this planet. However, the Goswami was speaking from a purely spiritual perspective in that we should focus our attention on the more important things in life and not waste our valuable time chasing illusions. “Doing ones business,” therefore means we should perform our material duties diligently and attentively while keeping our mind focused on the goal of liberation.
Of course, maintaining such a purely spiritual focus on life can sometimes be the greatest challenge. Just ask Arjuna, the great warrior of the Bhagavad-gita, who declared that controlling the mind was like trying to “control the wind”. Krishna, however, responded that it was indeed possible, “with practice.”
Arjuna Said: “For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.” [BG 6.34]
Granted, such “practice” could be a lifetime endeavor, but if we do take up the challenge, we can feel comfort in the fact that we bucked the norm and took a stand for change. The sort of change that will benefit us beyond death. Let me explain…
Change is something that most of us are afraid of, and yet the fact is that change is an absolute fact of life. The entire material creation is constantly changing one atom at a time, every second of the day. Nothing remains the same, everything is in a constant state of flux. So why fight change? Just detach and accept that it is part of what makes this material creation work — the recycling of nature. By embracing change as something good and natural and then taking the necessary action to initiate changes within, we tap into our higher dynamic self and set the framework for an abundant and accepting life. We may desire something intensely, but the Universe may surprise us in how that desire is fulfilled. In other words, it may not be as we expect it. Know for certain, however, that all desires are fulfilled and that our God/Goddess know what is best for us at every moment. Allowing such flow of mercy is imperative for creating an abundant and fulfilling life.
The understanding that this material world is not our true home, and that we need to except external change in our life while simultaneously initiating changes within that will feed our awareness are three key principles of success.
Let’s address them one at a time:
1) This world is temporary and external to our core spiritual identity
You and I are not this body, but are eternal spiritual beings having a human experience as a result of past karma and decisions we made, including choosing to come to this material realm in the first place. Nonetheless, we are here now but we can comfort ourselves in knowing that all is temporary, including our entrapment. Soon enough we will shed this material skin and return to full consciousness. How long before that happens is open for debate. We do however play a role in when that day will come.
2) Change is an absolute fact of the material creation and maintenance
(turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
– David Bowie
Material energy and all that is manifested before our eyes is constantly changing shape. Under the erosion of time and the will of illusion a tree becomes paper, paper becomes ash, ash becomes soil, soil nourishes a seed; that seed houses the potential of fruit or vegetables; that food becomes fuel for our body which is then formed into new cells or shit out as waste which to other living beings is a source of food. And these cycles and transformations go on endlessly. Why are we then so alarmed by change when it is all around us?
3) We always have a choice and the ability to change for the better
Minute independence is something that can never be taken away from us, for it is our constitutional right as spiritual beings of consciousness. We observe and we choose. At every moment, our brains are bombarded with a multitude of choices, most of which are dealt with subconsciously. For example, how often are you consciously aware of your breathing and yet at any given moment we could decide to stop breathing. The key here is to use this God-given minute independence (free will) to break free of these material entanglements through the natural evolution of consciousness. Such “natural evolution” entails accepting the responsibility for our past mistakes and serving those that depend on us and also serve us. Service is the foundation of every successful endeavor. Who and how we serve is what matters most. So choose wisely or you may find yourself back at square one in a dogs body fetching a stick. Or in the example below, some crazy looking fish guy!