I’ve been slowly reading the Bhagavad Gita, taking my time to soak in this ancient text’s wisdom and offerings. This sacred scripture, which details a conversation on a battlefield between a warrior named Arjuna and the deity Krishna, is often quoted in yoga classes, but I’ve never taken the time to sit with its words until now. One passage has stuck with me this summer, especially during times when I’ve felt particularly frustrated, attached, and stuck. From Stephen Mitchell’s translation
“He whose mind is untroubled by any misfortune, whose craving for pleasures has disappeared, who is free from greed, fear, and anger, who is unattached to all things, who neither grieves nor rejoices if good or bad things happen – that is a man of firm wisdom.”
Being free from fear and anger? Lofty goals indeed. However, we can work toward Krishna’s expression of wisdom with small steps in our daily lives. The journey through cancer often brings up a spectrum of emotions and feelings – jealousy, anger, sadness, despair - and just acknowledging and bringing awareness to these moments (without judging ourselves) is a way of attaining “firm wisdom.” The goal is not perfection, but rather living in a state of constant presence and awareness, dwelling in “the now” as much as we’d often rather focus on the past or present.