“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.34)
In addition to being one of the steps in meditational yoga, dhyana is important as a standalone process. In bhakti-yoga, which is connecting to the Divine through thoughts, words and deeds in love and devotion, remembering is important. The Sanskrit term is vishno-smaranam: remember the Supreme Lord in the personal form.
Dhyana is concentration, but how to focus with so many other pressing issues? More specifically, there are certain life events that practically take up every waking moment of the day in terms of thoughts.
1. Changing jobs
It was a good run, but now I have to move on. I developed some sentimental attachment to some of my colleagues, but I know the relationships aren’t real. So many past employees have left, and as soon as that happened I never heard from them again.
This is a job, after all, which means that profit is holding everyone together. There is profit for the business and personal interest at the individual level. I have to get another job, which means creating or updating a resume, putting my name out there, and going on job interviews.
This is a big step, as everyday life will surely change. I have to give this total attention. Even during the resting state, my mind is focused on what will happen. Uncertainty disturbing peace.
Sometimes related to the above, there is a shift in residence. Time to find a new place to live. But where? Rent or buy? What kind of amenities do I want? What will happen to my relationships with friends and family? Will I feel lonely? How to maintain the bond? So many questions, and no answers forthcoming.
If I think about it seriously, I could be happy pretty much anywhere. Even in a place where it snows all the time, where the sun doesn’t shine for months on end, I would find a way. At the same time, if I have a choice, why not go for what I really want? But what is it exactly that I want?
3. The birth of a child
This has brought such a change that I don’t even remember life before. Just two days ago the world was different, with a different outlook. In the present it’s like my wife and I are part of a pit crew, and the baby running an endless race. Every two or three hours there is maintenance to be done. There is no relief during the nighttime hours, when sleep is needed. Constant attention and focus. It looks like there is no end in sight to the struggle.
In truth, significant life events such as these begin at the time of birth and continue up until death. There is no end, should a person continue to focus on them. Bhakti-yoga can be practiced and perfected even in difficult circumstances. Unlike meditational yoga, jnana, and karma, there are no strict requirements. It is not necessary to abandon every responsibility that exists currently and move to a monastery or remote cave.
Any person can find time, even if they have just five minutes a day. Remember to remember Krishna, the all-attractive one. Chant His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Listen to Krishna-katha, discourses about His transcendental glories, in the car while running errands. Sing devotional songs quietly to oneself or to others. Read a chapter or verse from the Bhagavad-gita or Shrimad Bhagavatam. Opportunities are endless and anyone who makes the sacrifice gets handsomely rewarded.
For success focus required,
But events making confused and tired.
Such as to new place moving,
Or a better job choosing.
So happy with new life at first,
But now struggling after birth.
Bhakti perfected even in storm’s eye,
Handsomely rewarded those who try.
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