8 Things I Learned From the Bhagavad Gita
In the battle between heart and mind, it doesn’t matter who wins:
What matters is that you are true to both for they are not really opposed but guiding you to the truth. We balance on a narrow precipice between heart and mind: following our intuitive hearts, living with no regrets, being true to ourselves and honest with others while at the same time following our rational minds, having self-discipline and living according to our values like integrity, loyalty, honor, courage and duty.
“Surrender the fruit’s of your actions.”
Find contentment with the journey you are on regardless of outcomes, even when the walls are crumbling around you and the earth is cracking beneath your feet. “Do not expect or fear anything.” Expectation and fear limit our possibilities.
Accept the dualities of life:
“Be at ease in pleasure and pain, in honor and disgrace. Do not rejoice in good fortune nor lament bad fortune. Free yourself from desire and anger.”
Imagine your most disgraceful moment and then imagine yourself at ease in it, sitting quietly while the leaves of worry float away in the breeze. Feeling sad about your losses will weigh you down. Accept your desire without coveting or needing that which you want. Jettison anger as quickly as possible for it is the poison that seeps into our hearts if we don’t let it go.
Accept the equanimity of life:
When you see all beings as equal in suffering and in joy, when you are rooted in the oneness of all beings, you cannot love or hate because it is all part of the same thing. Put in other words, love your enemy as yourself. Refuse to speak badly about those who hurt you or your enemies. Limiting your speech will limit your negative thoughts and eventually allow you to forgive in your heart and mind as well. Then you can approach your enemies with kindness and empathy.
“The wise are free of attachments and act for the well-being of the whole world.”
Free yourself from being overly attached to things. Love without needing or possessing. Hope and dream without being attached to the outcome of your dreams. Think about what you can give to the world rather than your own problems.
“Lucid, with mind unshaken, remain within what is real.”
Speak the truth with kindness. If the truth will cause pain, evaluate your intentions to determine if it really needs to be said. Lucidity may bring to the surface many difficult choices. You cannot pretend when you are living an authentic life.
Live in accordance with your essential nature:
“It is better to do your own duty badly, than to perfectly do another’s. Even the wise man acts in accordance with his inner nature. All beings follow their nature. What good can repression do?”
To determine our dharma, or essential nature, we must look within. We will know our life’s purpose when we know our essential nature, when we are true to ourselves and pursue what we love.
“The wise man does not unsettle the minds of the ignorant; quietly acting in the spirit of yoga, he inspires them to do the same.”
Do not revel in your own voice. Quietly lead by example and inspire others to do the same. Learn to love solitude and silence.