We may read or hear the news and wonder, “What’s wrong with the world?”
The news is – to put it plainly – crazy. Every day, angry people are undertaking actions that are literally insane, for no apparently comprehensible reason.
For example, setting off bombs to indiscriminately kill people whom one doesn’t know, is crazy. The bombers may think themselves perfectly justified and rational. They may sincerely believe that, for whatever arbitrary reason, their “random” victims are truly evil and, therefore, deserve to be slaughtered like vermin. However, their belief (however sincere) doesn’t make their action any less crazy.
This is not to say that the problem is limited to bombers and vandals. Anger permeates our entire society at every level. It is a worldwide problem that crosses all boundaries: cultural, racial, gender – whatever.
One part of the problem is team spirit: thinking of people in terms of “us” and “them”. A so-called “random” act of violence is never completely random. Such acts are always targeting some “others”, who are accepted as the enemy. Why? Because they’re not part of “us”. They’re not on our team, they’re on some other team. Therefore they deserve to die.
The team can be national, racial, so-called (but not actually) religious, gender, species, a sports franchise, or whatever. It’s all the same illusion at work.
What is the motive? What is pushing these people? Why do angry people do crazy things, and how did they get that way? What is the root of the problem?
As always, we need to consult the world’s great scriptures to understand the matter. Bhagavad-gita speaks most clearly to this point:
It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of the world. (3.37)
Lust, any self-centered desire to be the enjoyer and controller, cannot be satisfied. Even if we get what we’re after, then we become afraid of losing it. So we’re always in anxiety because our self-centered desires are always frustrated. This frustration always turns into anger.
How does this no-win scenario develop?
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool. (2.62)
We turn our attention to material things, which we want to enjoy, because we think that material enjoyment (sense gratification) will make us happy – but it cannot. The more we focus on the particular object of desire, the stronger that desire becomes, until we find ourselves obsessed. That obsession is lust. The phrase “crime of passion” isn’t accidental. Lust gives rise to wrath, which deludes us and makes up capable of anything. If you’ve encountered some rage-filled person muttering to themselves (or shouting at the world), you’ve seen this process at work – and its sad result.
The problem is not “other people”, so we should not be thinking like that. That’s random bomber mentality. We need to give that up. My anger is my problem alone. I need to own it, and try to deal with it. It’s not someone else’s responsibility.
I can’t change other people. There’s only one person I can change – the one looking back from the mirror. Other people are not the problem – I’m the problem.
What needs to change? Our consciousness. We need to stop looking at this world with material vision, and begin to develop spiritual vision.
We need to stop viewing the world – and its inhabitants – as our property, as tools for our enjoyment. They are not. If we are viewing them as such, then we are crazy. This insanity can take any form. Bombers aren’t born – they are cultivated. Material vision – thinking of oneself as the owner and controller of others – is the soil in which anger grows, yielding a bumper crop of madness.
How do we change our consciousness? Through Meditation.
Meditation is a spiritual practice, involving spiritual sound, which has the power to purify our hearts and correct our vision.
As the Police song* tells us, “There is no political solution to our troubled evolution.” No political or economic program can solve the problem of our self-centered, material vision. Because such programs are built upon the same misguided, materialistic vision, they can only fail. The song concludes:
Where does the answer lie?
We live from day to day
It’s something we cannot buy
There must be another way
The answer is not to be found in anything material – because we are not matter. We are spiritual in essence, and therefore only true, spiritual knowledge can help us. That knowledge becomes available to us as we cultivate our receptivity through the process of Meditation.
That process is freely available, in our Mantra Meditation classes. You can begin today, by contacting us. We hope to hear from you.
Spirits in the Material World. Songs with as much wisdom as this one are extremely rare.