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Season 3 - Episode 23

2.40: If You Are Sincere

10 min - Talk


James recites and translates verse 2.40 from the Gita. When we listen to the deep longing of our heart and intuitive wisdom, and sincerely align with our own dharma, we cannot go wrong. James reassures us that if we are sincere and honest in our efforts there is no losing, only learning.
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Jan 29, 2016
Bhakti, Jnana, Karma
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So now, with the 40th verse, Krishna begins the kind of yoga section of this second chapter. And he actually begins with a promise. So here it is. He says, This is a very beautiful verse. The last part, this will protect you from great fear. What will protect you from great fear?

Just a little of this dharma will protect you from great fear. So we'll talk more about what that means in a moment. The first line he says, So, here in the world, nasty. Nasty means there is no, there is no what? There is no unsuccessful effort on this path, says Krishna. Pratyavayo navidyate, going in the wrong direction is not known.

So he's just told Arjuna, okay Arjuna, come to a clear decision about what you feel is right, and once you feel that clarity, get on with it, do it. So there's a question for the seeker, but sometimes I'm really not sure. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between what is really the voice of my deep intuitive wisdom, the voice of my conscience, the voice of my heart, and what is my ego being very clever and trying to talk me into a path that isn't really what I want to do. Sometimes it's hard to discern that. Sometimes we're not sure. As we're learning to be in balance, sometimes we do falter and realise that actually that wasn't what I really wanted to do, and that's part of the path.

We mentioned before, how do we learn to walk by stumbling? So Arjuna may well have the doubt, and we may have the doubt, but it's all well and good to say, yeah, just do it, but what if I make a mistake? What if I come to a clear conviction, but then I realise that what I'm doing isn't for the greater good? It's not what I authentically want. And so Krishna lays it out super clear here at the beginning. He says, when you listen to the deep longing of your heart, when you heed that intuitive wisdom and you work sincerely to foster dharma, when you work in such a way that you're doing what you can, honestly, here and now, to make your actions conducive to sustained integrated wellbeing, then you never lose.

There's no unsuccessful effort, and there's no going in the wrong direction. Now we might think, whoa, wait a minute, I've experienced going in the wrong direction. I can look back at instances in my life where I've done things, and I think, oh, I was wasting my time. How could I do that for so long? But it's the idea that that's actually all part of the journey.

Sometimes we might feel we make a mistake, but actually it's a great learning experience. A few years ago I was staying in a friend's house, and he had a big collection of fridge magnets. One which was particularly outstanding, it said, there are no mistakes, only lessons in love. Because there are no mistakes, only lessons in dharma. When you're learning to be in balance, staying in balance in the world of constant change is quite a challenge, that's demanding. So sometimes we may falter.

One of my teachers says, nothing wrong with faltering. Faltering is how you learn to be steady. If you choose to repeat a mistake, then that really is a mistake. But if you make an honest mistake, then that is just how you learn. So Krishna says here, don't worry about going in the wrong direction.

If you are sincere, if you are honest, if you just do what you can to examine the reality of your situation and work as best you can here and now to foster harmony, there's no losing in that situation. And furthermore, just a little of this dharma will protect you from great fear. And what are you talking about here? Think, well, what is the greatest fear that we have as human beings? We could argue about this, but generally I think it's the fear of death. And Krishna says, just a little of this dharma will protect you from great fear.

So sooner or later, we're all going to die. Sometimes people talk about yoga as the art of living. But if we talk about the art of living, I think we have to also talk about the art of living and dying because death is intrinsic to life. You can't really have one without the other. When it comes to that time we have to leave, how would we like to do it? Generally, I think that human beings would like to go easily, feeling ready, feeling peaceful.

And how will we do that? The idea in yoga is that if you want to die in peace, you can actually prepare by learning to sleep in peace at the end of every day. And if you sleep in peace at the end of every day, when it comes time to leave and not wake up anymore, you'll be able to make that transition easily, peacefully too. So the idea, even a little of this dharma, just a little effort to come to that place at the center will protect you from that great fear because when you come to that place at the center, then you can get a glimpse of your undying essence. And you'll know, perhaps even when you're at death's door and you can feel death creeping up on you, you'll be in a place where you can feel, oh, inside it's all right.

And I've been fortunate enough to be with some people as they've been dying, including my mother. And when my mother died, she was able to speak to me from this place. It feels like a disease was killing her, but in the last three days before she died, she really did a lot to get ready. And she was able to speak to me from this place where inside it was all right. And this is the idea in yoga, if you just make a little effort, even at the end, once you start to understand what you're really made of, then the changes of life, including that biggest change from life to death, won't overwhelm you in the same way.

Similarly, in the day to day, sometimes we can be fearful. There's the idea, if we make the effort to come to the center, we've just got much more of a platform to navigate the challenge of the day easily. The idea in yoga is about skillfulness. We're going to come to this very soon. Krishna is going to define yoga.

And as you just make a little effort to foster steadiness, it allows you to meet the challenge of the day more calmly, more easily. So the idea is just follow your dharma. Just do what you can to tune in and work along this path of life in a way that feels authentic for you. And if you're sincere, you'll be learning so much. And so you'll continue to be evolving, even if now and again, and perhaps very frequently, we might falter and make mistakes.

But if we're sincere, we'll definitely keep learning. So when you're on this path, nothing to worry about. It's your path. Keep walking and you'll keep learning.


2 people like this.
Oh, so amazing!

I really loved this talk. Actually, I'm loving them all.

How wonderful to be able to listen to someone discuss the Bhagavad Gita in kind of everyday terms.

Thank you James, thank you YogaAnytime.
Caroline S
1 person likes this.
my favourite bit: there are no mistakes only lessons in dharma / love
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Again... perfect timing for me to reflect upon this verse. Just back from a dear neighbour's funeral - the kind of event that usually invites reframing... 

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