‘Tomorrow’ is a mystical land where 99% of human creativity, potential and achievement lies. Unfortunately, 99% of people never enter that space! We have an annoying tendency to put things off, even when we know they’re valuable, desirable and doable. A heavy inertia grounds us into stagnation and we’re not able to seize the day – not because there are practical or perceived obstacles, but simply because we fall victim to laziness and procrastination.
In Chapter Eight, Krishna highlights the ultimate meditation to reinstate clarity into every aspect of our lives. He reminds Arjuna that this body is a ticking time bomb, a fact that hasn’t fully registered with most people. When it comes to spirituality, the teenagers say “I'm too young,” the elderly say “I’m too old,” and everyone in between says “I'm too busy!” They say they’ll do it “Someday.” The irony is that there are seven days in a week and “Someday” is not one of them! If our mentality is “I’ll do it tomorrow” then tomorrow our answer may well remain “I'll do it tomorrow!” Thus we circle the cycle, life after life.
It’s a dangerous approach. The pain of discipline is uncomfortable but the pain of regret is unbearable. If we fail to wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves to doing what we know is ultimately valuable, we’ll find it hard to forgive ourselves down the line. Krishna reminds us that before time runs out, we must ensure our spiritual consciousness has blossomed. Indeed, our hopes, concerns and desires in those final moments will determine our next destination.
Spiritual success doesn’t magically appear overnight, like an apple that randomly drops from a tree and mystically hits you. Spiritual success comes in instalments every single day, and when we apply ourselves to the process on any given day, we receive the instalment of success set aside for that day. If we procrastinate and put off, we lose out. Every single day, for the rest of our lives, we have the opportunity to keep investing in that eternal account. After all, that final balance will trigger our thoughts at the time of death.
We can also up the stakes. Higher investments mean higher risk. Throughout history, we see how distinguished saints pushed the barriers of their comfort zone, embraced uncertainty, and voluntarily accepted precarious situations in pursuit of their purpose. I’m not sure whether they began with concrete conviction, but they certainly ended up with it! It spurred their dependence upon the will of providence. Token religious faith is commendable, but life becomes dynamically exciting when we experience the mystery and wonder of divine intervention. Selfless sacrifices, exceptional endeavours and the willingness to take a risk are the drivers behind such experiences. How can we connect with the hand of God if we don’t have the courage to let go of the perpetual pursuance of comfort, convenience and control?
It’s easy to gravitate towards the ‘safe options’ in life. Don’t do anything drastic, tread the path of least resistance and keep things sweet and simple. The world has its preconceived notions – what’s acceptable and what’s not – and we just fit right in. The fear of embarrassment, failure and public scrutiny is too much, and thus plagued by the disease of conformity, we perpetually confine and limit ourselves. Yet a comfortable life is itself a hazardous disease. With it comes the danger of mechanical, ritualistic, mediocre, and stagnated spirituality. In the name of caution, we sell ourselves short.
“For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.” (Bhagavad-Gita 8.14)
8.28 – By developing one’s devotion, the results of all other pious and religious processes automatically come about.