Nectar or poison? A lesson from the Bhagavad Gita
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on April 29, 2014. Posted with permission.
We’ve managed to convince ourselves that we always know what we’re doing.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna offers important advice.
What begins as nectar can turn into poison.
Avidya is false consciousness. We may think our perceptions are apt, but our judgment is clouded by ego, desire, resentment or fear. At first exposure, a life experience may deliver what appears to be happiness, but that happiness is a con.
This can be basic. Smoking, coffee, shopping, drinking, fast food. These temporary nectars soon-to-be poisons are obvious. But what about relationships, jobs, political persuasions and tastes in music and media?
To figure out if we’re drinking nectar or poison, we examine why we like it. If it feeds our vanity; satisfies our greed, lust or gluttony; expresses rage or helps us deny reality with slothful inaction, it is likely a poison.
But to recognize a seven deadly is problematic given that we must cut through avidya.
We can know our actions are right and true if something deep inside us is peaceful, quiet. The deep-rooted contentment cannot be taken away. It is a satisfaction that is free from judgment. It is an expression of love which is selfless.
Flip it. Just because we hate something, let’s not be so quick to dump it as a poison. Poisons, with time, can become nectars.
Certain people get under our skin. He’s always boasting about his accomplishments. She uses too many $5 words. We can’t believe the idiot voted for (fill-in-the-blank)!
All people can teach us about ourselves.
Are we jealous of what he’s done, or do we feel dissatisfied with our own successes? Are our egos deflated because we can’t understand what she’s talking about? Are we insecure in our beliefs?
Why do you hate running? Why do you hate tricked-out yoga poses like Crow? Push-ups? Why do we hate anything we can’t do or do well enough or better-than?
If something sucks that bad, there’s a lesson in it. Find it.
Begin to clear the avidya in five steps.
Detach from results, and examine motives. Place the value on the quality of actions rather than expected fruits because fruits are always uncertain. Work from a place of dignity, integrity, honesty and love.
Develop the sixth chakra, the seat of intuition. Om during meditation. Forward bend with a block or bolster under the forehead if you can’t reach the knee. Enjoy alone time, and turn off distractions. Connect with the subconscious with a dream journal.
Communicate with the third chakra, the gut, the center for self. Pump it with prana with a basic Nauli breathwork. Standing with knees bent and the hands braced against the thighs, lower the chin to chest. Exhale forcefully, and empty the body of breath. Maintain the exhalation while sucking and holding the abdomen under your ribcage. This one takes practice.
As long as they don’t result in physical harm or create danger, allow perceived poisons 90 days. Give the teacher time to emerge.
Contradict the self. It’s okay to embrace a nectar one day and label it a poison the next. The critic who just called you a flake is jealous of your freedom.
A final word: Just because one-time nectars have become poisons, it doesn’t mean you were wrong. Perhaps you just evolved.