Today we revisit the Bhagavad Gita for inspiration. In XII:19-19, Lord Krishna says:
“He who is tranquil before friend and foe alike, and in encountering adoration and insult, and during the experiences of warmth and chill and of pleasure and suffering; who has relinquished attachment, regarding blame and praise in the same light; who is quiet and easily contented, not attached to domesticity, and of calm disposition and devotional — that person is dear to Me.”
In trying to live spiritually, we are going to encounter materially-minded people who do not understand us. Some of these people may even hate and persecute us because we don’t “fit in.”
These words from the Bhagavad Gita are exhorting us to operate from a place of inner truth. We are to follow what we know to be right, in spite of criticism.
To be “tranquil” is to be at peace within, no matter what others say or do to us. To do this we must “relinquish attachment” to our ego. The nature of the ego makes undisciplined people uncomfortable and mean-spirited toward those who are morally or spiritually different from themselves.
This passage calls us to analyze ourselves, honestly and without egotistical bias. If what we are living is right, we are to remain strong in our actions that produce joy, uninfluenced by either “adoration or insult.”
If what we are living is wrong, or out of alignment with our Highest Self, then we are to be grateful for the opportunity to correct ourselves in order to remove any obstacles from our path of happiness.
Even unjust criticism becomes a tool that fortifies us to follow the ways of inner peace. It enthuses us even more.
It should be considered no great loss when those who don’t understand us suddenly shun us. Instead, this ostracism becomes a blessing because it keeps us away from their negative influence, and it opens up the door for like-minded people to find their way to us and us to them.
To be strong in the face of such opposition, the spiritually dedicated are to be “of calm disposition and devotional,” meaning we are to approach situations with a levelheadedness, devoid of ego, and we are to cultivate divine habits to which we must adhere. We are not to simply find time, but to make time for honoring Source in the peace of meditation and other spiritual practices. Such practices will grant us the wisdom and guidance by which we are to conduct ourselves.
Living the spiritual life is going to separate us from the worldly crowd and all of its influences. Will there be temptation? Of course. Many will try to get us to veer off of our path, and when we don’t, we will more than likely face their non-understanding, insults, and wrath. In knowing who we are and what our truth is, we need not be fazed by such antics of the ego.
This is not to say that we are better than or spiritually superior to others. We’re not. They are our brothers and sisters; they can accept us, follow our example, or simply fade harmoniously away when they realize they can not shake us from our Truth.
To live the spiritual life is to live our truth from the inside out, not the outside in. It’s not about flattering the ego; it’s about flattening it. When we approach life from this perspective, and when we hold fast to our truth, we live more authentically, no matter what anyone says.
When we encounter those who take issue with us because of our chosen path, we know that they come from a place of attachment, of ego, and we can move past their invectives because they know not what they do.