See Me Everywhere: Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven

On the Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven

WE ALL WANT to be happy. What then is happiness? There is no simple answer, but for many happiness is at least in large part a state of mind in which we are aware of a deep, underlying unity and connectedness in all things, and of our place in that greater whole.

Sometimes we say that this is the feeling that our lives have meaning. And that in contrast, unhappiness is the sense that our lives have no meaning; that there is no deeper connection and unity within things and no meaningful relation between ourselves and that whole.

Some will call the feeling of unity and meaning a sense of the presence of God, or the Spirit in all things. Not all of us identify with any particular religious tradition, but we understand what the poet Wordsworth called ‘a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused’.

It is also sometimes called an awareness of the ‘transcendental’ where this word means not something pleasant in a vaguely un-worldly way, but a clear understanding of the principle that it is the workings of our minds that present to us a world full of distinctions in time and space, and that beyond the appearances we experience there is a whole which transcends the limitations of our minds. To use a currently popular phrase, one might describe as ‘emotional intelligence’ this appreciation of the great power, and also the limits, of our minds, and the wise realization that they do not encompass the totality that certainly exists beyond their range.

Then the question arises, is this happy state of mind, by whatever name we call it, something that comes just at fortunate moments, that can only occur when conditions are propitious, or can it be cultivated? Can we learn to see and understand in such a way that wherever we look, whatever we think about, we see expressions of the whole, the harmonious totality, and our place in that? Here we are going to look at some teachings that come in the Bhagavad Gita chapter seven, which are about exactly this: how to see reminders in all things of the higher reality, the transcendental, God, the sublime interconnectedness.

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This article is from the Winter 2019 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.