“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt
There comes a time when we must face the pain of our needs going unmet. We have so many fears surrounding the concept of our needs going unmet in our lifetime. Needs are not just physical like food, water, shelter, safety, etc. Needs are also emotional and mental such as feeling loved, accepted, valued, respected, and seen. When the emotional needs are going unmet, we can become angry from the weight of the pain that we carry around with us. It may feel unfair that we should need to shoulder such a burden. However, it is our burden alone to bear and while we may ask for help carrying the weight, if we try to give it away without consent, this can cause even more problems that can lead to even more pain.
Life is a balancing act that begins with survival and ends with transcendence, if we’re fortunate. In order to transcend the material limitations of our physical bodies, we must come to learn that even though our mental sphere is impacted by the material phenomenon, it doesn’t have to be dependent upon it for happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction. The mind is much more than just an invisible projection of reality created by our brains. It exists on its own independent of the body. The neural connections in the brain are the roads that the mental activity walks along when we are embodied, but the mind is not bound by these neuron cells and synaptic connections. When we can truly understand this, we will see that what we thought we needed to be provided for us by other humans, we can provide for ourselves in our own mindscape.
There are a few requirements for developing the ability to become self-sufficient in one’s mind, and thus in the physical plane of consciousness. The biggest one is courage, but not fearlessness. Courage means that we may still be afraid of some negative or adverse consequence, but we choose to try to do something anyway. We can choose to have the courage to imagine what it would be like to feel fully satisfied and content even when we feel that our needs are going unmet. We can choose to imagine what it would take for us to be happy even when our needs aren’t met. We can choose to find ways to look lovingly upon those who have hurt us even if we are afraid this may cause harm to us somehow. We can choose to be brave enough that the possibility of harm, pain, damage, injury, etc. aren’t deterrents any longer. We still exercise caution and common sense to not put ourselves in harm’s way physically or deliberately, but we understand that sometimes when we are unlearning a lot of the harmful and limiting beliefs and thought patterns we’re stuck in, pain and perceived harm/injury may come as a part of the healing process. At times, it’s absolutely necessary for things to get worse before they get better. This isn’t a bad thing, even though it can be very painful & scary.
At the end of the day, we are an eternal spirit soul that exists independent of physical body and mind. No harm can come to us truly. This is simply an illusion. Whatever material needs are going unmet aren’t impacting us on the soul level. The material needs going unmet is simply an aspect of karma that exists to help us learn some lesson about how to tolerate, respect, and be humble in regard to our true identity and position as part and parcel of Infinity. When we come into connection with the Source of Infinite Reality, we feel we want for nothing. Material needs mean nothing to us at that point. We feel we can endure any amount of pain and suffering because our inner heart of heart’s true desire has been attained. We are in relationship with our True Beloved. The most devastating thing in existence to us is nothing other than losing that connection with our Love. We know that as long as we have this loving sentiment, we have everything.
In this state of loving connection, we have infinite love, infinite patience, trust, mercy, compassion, and kindness. We see all of the souls as equal and deserving of love. We know that whatever their karmic situation is, that’s their lesson to learn, but we can still have empathy and adoration for them regardless of whatever is occurring on the relative plane of existence. It is temporary and not a reflection of who they truly are on the spiritual level. Sometimes when we experience pain and it seems to us to be caused by something another soul is doing, this is an opportunity to reflect on how all the souls simply act as mirrors to one another. We are reflecting each other back at one another.
If we see something we dislike in another, it’s typically because we too have that anartha still and need to offer it into the sacrificial fire. In these moments of pain, we can choose to see past the relative circumstances of the “story” and gaze upon the spark of the Divine within that soul we are in a difficult situation with materially. We can see how they are in a dormant state of slumber on the soul level, conditioned by the material energy, and operating on a sort of autopilot in a virtual reality existence. In these moments, we can choose to feel empathy and compassion for the fact that their real self is not fully awake and understand that they are simply a walking set of karmic repercussions continuously looping the cycle of action-reaction, action-reaction, action-reaction. These individuals aren’t even aware they’re making choices so they struggle to accept responsibility for the consequences, especially unintended ones, of their decisions.
In the situation where we are having to tolerate the reactive behaviors of the dormant souls, it can be easy to allow ourselves to get sucked into their drama. We don’t want to do this, however, because it’ll only cause us to accrue karma and get stuck in the dormant action-reaction cycle as well. Instead, we can choose to take a somewhat detached and aloof position towards what is going on with others internally and externally choose to express love and acceptance toward this suffering person. Even when we are being hurt and lashed out at by others, we can choose to feel compassion and mercy toward this soul who is unaware of what they’r
they’re doing on some level. We may have a fear that if we choose to be empathetic towards these slumbering souls, we may end up getting into a dangerous situation materially such as not having our mental-emotional needs met. Part of being a faithful and devoted soul, however, is to call upon the Lord and trust that we shall be provided with the ability to weather any storm and endure any hardship with Him at our side.
If we walk with God, we shall have nothing to fear on any level, but even if we still do have some fear, when we know that God is Good, we can choose to be brave, and ask for the ability to love and show mercy to those who may not deserve it karmically speaking. This is the mark of a true vaishnava, a true servant of the Lord. No matter what is occurring on the mundane, relative plane, the vaishnava remains resolute and transfixed in the belief that God is Good and the environment is always favorable. Every wave is favorable, even if it brings pain & hardship because it’s a karmic lesson helping us to see our anarthas and learn how to grow as a servant so we can surrender further. It is a loving opportunity to reconnect in the midst of a battlefield. Just like a warrior, however, we must have courage to do our duty and choose to love all of the Lord, which includes every single soul.
Love is a choice. Love is an action. Love is an ongoing process and state of being that is attained and maintained by constant, consistent, resolute decision making to be brave and not allow fear to come between us and our Beloved. We cannot hope to surrender and be in constant connection to the Source of Love if we aren’t willing to pay the ultimate price, which is to sacrifice our false ego and separate self-interest, especially on the material level. If we want God fully, we must ask for Him by Name. If we call out to Him and chant Mahamantra in our moments of pain and weakness and despair, He will be there.
We must say, “Dear Krishna, I cannot find it in me to have the strength to be brave right now, so please, fill me with your Love so that I may once again regain that courage to reflect that Love into the world at those who hurt me.” Fighting fire with fire will never work. Hate begets hate, love begets love. We must always fight with love if we hope to rise above the wheel of samsara and finally exit the transient shadow domain of the Lord, which exists for our correction and adjustment of inner vision. If we search our heart of hearts and ask ourselves what we truly desire and find that the answer is Krsna, then we have but one option: to choose to develop the courage to Love.