Baba says, ‘don’t gamble‘. This is a corrupt activity which makes one unhappy when they lose and happy when they win.
Do I gamble? If we were to think of it in the literal sense, most of us would say no. But in subtler ways, we’d likely pass off as habitual gamblers.
For half a cycle, I have based my dignity and my very sense of self on accomplishments. Everything I do comes with a set of expectations for a specific outcome. I want to win that medal, that project, that client, that bid. I plan my strategies and tactics according to my desired outcome and I roll the dice. Sometimes, I get what I wanted, other times I don’t. When I get my desired outcome, I am happy, lap up the praise and when I don’t, I subject myself to a whole range of emotions from sorrow, disappointment, anger, rejection and sometimes, even depression.
Then there are even subtler expectations- I want someone to like me, to respect me, to appreciate me. I hustle through life for that approval, for that like or compliment. I ensure I stay late and work on that project so the bosses see how hard I work. I ensure I know all the answers, I buy that gift for that birthday, I am at the school to pick up the kids on time. I do everything, pour in my 100%. When I think my effort was appreciated, when I get the reaction I want, I am happy, else, I feel sad, cheated, let down.
It seems that I gamble every moment of my life – with family, with friends, with co-workers, with the world. But isn’t that what I am supposed to do? Is it wrong to work hard and wish for the best?
Check your sense of purpose, your motivation, says Baba. I absolutely must do whatever I do with dedication, give it my best shot…because it is what I believe in, because it is something I want to learn….not to please others, to accrue points or to win a smile. I go wrong when I attach my heart to an outcome. Often, I put up my dignity, my entire sense of self on the line when I roll the dice. And so, when things don’t go my way, which they are bound not to every so often, it hits me hard. To me, it’s not that the project didn’t work out as planned, it’s that ‘I did not work out’. Then, I quickly spiral into ‘what will others think of me now?’, ‘I am no good..’, ‘I am unfortunate…’, ‘my life doesn’t amount to anything…’, ‘I am unsuccessful…’ etc etc. When they do go my way, again, I spend considerable time rewinding the praise, the victory, the accomplishment. ‘I have won’, ‘I have arrived’.
Because I attach my sense of self to each outcome, my life becomes a constant see-saw and I approach every decision, every choice, every project, every relationship with trepidation- afraid of what might happen, worried of how others might respond: ‘should I do this or that?’, ‘will this work or should I drop it?’. I torture myself through life rather than simply enjoy it. I make my happiness, my peace, my very worth conditional.
Let me check my attitude to life. Am I enjoying all of life’s moments, learning the lessons it is teaching me, embracing the opportunities it is offering me? It’s how I make my fortune- the permanent, imperishable kind and therefore the only kind that matters. It’s how I accumulate spiritual power, learn to build relationships, to adjust, to confront, to assert, to discern, to let go. This is how I learn about true love- unadulterated, unselfish, unconditional.
If my attitude instead is to approach life as a gamble, I will pass up on a lot of things because I am afraid, because I always have so much on the line to lose.
God is here now at this auspicious but short confluence age. He is reminding me of who I am – a soul and showing me the path to my self-sovereignty – when I am free, fearless, confident, in control. I cannot be a self-sovereign if I approach life as a gambler. It wastes time, energy and mental resources as I constantly fluctuates between the extremes.
Remember who you are, He says. You are a sovereign, a master of your own destiny.