What is Independence Part 1 & Review
Reflection Question: What are some inner adjustments you can make to become more independent of the articles, beings and circumstances in your life?
- Group Reflection: Develop quietude of the mind and follow your dharma. These are the key armors against pleasure-seeking. Change is changeless, and if you prepare for it, you’ll be less frustrated with the outcome. We must test/challenge ourselves to practice quietude in an uncontrolled environment. It’s important to go inside, rather than outside. While intellectually, this makes sense, it’s much more difficult to actually practice it. Moving from FOMO to JOMO, smiling more, going with the flow, and listening more and speaking less.
- Individual Reflection #1: Growing up, I’ve always sought independent joy in the external, but with each fulfilled desire, I would feel more distant from peace and then chase after more desires. Trapped in a cycle of temporary highs and lows. True independence is having faith- no matter what happens, we are all we need in the end. Independence is not about getting and taking, but letting go and living. Swami Vivekananda once shared that “we are all born bound to a certain size of rock. The purpose of a lifetime of the body is to break down the rock until one is free”
- Individual Reflection #2: Independence is the means to achieving true happiness. Happiness is lost to the three thieves: regrets of the past, anxieties toward the future and unbridled excitement for the present. While it’s obvious that attachment brings sorrow, detachment is not the solution- a sthitaprajna is one who has complete faith in Bhagavan, lives true independence and meets the joys and sorrows of life with equanimity. In Chapter 3 of Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan describes a shrestha person as being independent from ego. Independence empowers us to give more than what we take.
Our relationship with Gita is casual. We know the Gita, but do we live the Gita? The vision of the course is to feel free, and to make freedom our default character.
Anala means fire, or never enough. Prince Arjuna wanted more and more- he even wanted this war! Bhagavan Krishna is trying to guide Prince Arjuna to alam: enough, or coolness.
First 5 questions Prince Arjuna asks, he’s asking as a searcher, not a seeker. He’s confused and overwhelmed. So Bhagavan’s first answers are to sit down, calm down and breathe.
Philosophical/Historical context: What is going on, and why am I here? Be balanced.
Practical interpretation: What is peace? Quietude. Practice quietude by inputting less.
Philosophical context:: Why would we harm our relatives? This war is an expression of ahimsa.
Practical interpretation: What is Sin? Agitation
Philosophical context: How can we be happy with harming our family? You will evolve. When you engage in something that’s hard(er), you will evolve (more). As long as you focus on someone else’s responsibility rather than your own, you will be unhappy.
Practical interpretation: What is righteousness? Responsibility.
Philosophical context: If the Kauravas want to hurt us, why must we reciprocate? You can’t just know your responsibility; you must act on it too.
Practical interpretation: What is prioritization? Clarity.
Philosophical context: Why do I have to harm my teacher (Acharya Bhishma and Acharya Drona)? They are not the body you are going to harm,, but rather the spirit. You are only harming an entity that’s already dying.
Practical interpretation: What is grief? Confusion, when we hold on to names and forms.
Starting question 6, Prince Arjuna evolves into a committed seeker.
Philosophical context: What am I supposed to do? Take charge and put in effort. Live dynamically and actively.
Practical interpretation: What is efficiency? Simplicity. When you have many goals in life, you don’t get to any of them. Identify the universal goal.
Philosophical context: How does an enlightened person think, speak, etc.? They are content.
Practical interpretation: What is sacrifice? Dedication. Be dedicated to that which is lasting/long-term
How do we not give in to pleasure? How do we come back after succumbing to pleasure?
1. Blaming others is a tier 2 complaint. Making excuses is a tier 1 complaint
2. A distraction is a distraction if you are distracted. There are no inherent distractions
3. Assess the cost-benefits of succumbing to a pleasure
How can we distinguish between something that gives us pleasure and something that is a distraction?
Evaluate how much down time we will allow ourselves to have and establish parameters.
In a democracy, what are the right responsibilities to take on?
4 types of karma
Nitya karma: regular responsibility
Naimittika karma: special responsibility
Kamya karma: selfish action
Nishiddha karma: immoral action
Future RAW: what is your reflection on Question 7? Share in the chat or the Medium site.