I want to live a substantial life…

DK Dasa
3 min readDec 14, 2021

(Reflections on World Bhagavad Gita day)

According to the Oxford Dictionary, for something to be substantial is for it to be “of considerable importance or worth.” A second definition is “strongly built or made.” 💪

In other words, for something to be substantial, it has to be underpinned by something of real substance. So to lead a substantial life, one must produce and consume real substances.

Here’s a way to think of it. One may (or at least I may 😅) get into a habit of consuming junk food that has no substantial nutritional value to it. If one consumes too much of it throughout the course of life, the foundation of one’s health becomes greatly weakened, because this (so called) food lacks the qualities of real, whole foods.

In this age of sensory overload and stimulation, there are unlimited substances that vie for our attention in this world. Substances like drugs, alcohol, pornography, and crude entertainment all degrade our consciousness. That much is obvious.

Yet, there are still more subtle substances that we may be tempted to produce internally if we’re not careful; substances like anger, greed, arrogance, envy, delusion, and lust. In the same way, “consuming” these substances damages the foundation of our lives because they are foreign to the true nature of the soul.

In fact, it is only by wallowing in these enemies of the mind (as they are called in yogic wisdom scriptures) that we are driven to consume the “grosser” aforementioned substances in the first place. And then the more we fall prey to degrading substances, the deeper we become influenced and motivated by lust, anger, delusion, etc. It’s a vicious cycle that is explained in the Bhagavad Gita (2.62–63).

So what to do?

After describing the vicious cycle that degrades us, Bhagavad Gita says (to paraphrase verse 2.66):

“The mind and intelligence of one who is spiritually connected become steady and sharp. From this state comes peace, and from peace happiness naturally ensues.” 🧘‍♂️

So our state of consciousness — the awareness and perception that governs our mind and intelligence — is the foundation on which our lives are built.

We can make a conscious effort everyday to fortify our foundation with “real” substance — activities, thoughts, sounds, books, people, and places that inspire us to attend to the spiritual aspect of life.

Our lives are inherently substantial. As conscious beings we are inestimably worthy and powerful, because we are part and parcel of our Divine Source. But that value must be actualized through becoming instruments of service, love, and joy. And the way to continually increase our receptivity and channeling capacity is to remain diligent in molding our consciousness with the right substances.

One practical example is to cultivate gratitude. As I heard from my teacher once, you can pull out of bottle of gratitude at any time! You can produce it, contemplate it, drink it, and distribute it to others. It adjusts your internal world and it adjusts the world around you when you give it out.

Whatever you appreciate, appreciates in your life. In the hopes that my spiritual receptivity and service capacity appreciates, I’m reflecting today on my gratitude for the gift of spiritual wisdom I’ve had the fortune of stumbling upon in this life, in the form of books like the Bhagavad Gita. And I’m feeling fortunate for the many teachers and friends who imbibe this wisdom in a way that keeps it fresh, inspiring, and practical. 🙏

What are you grateful for today? Have you read the Bhagavad Gita? How has it changed your life? (If you haven’t I’d love to send you a copy! Just reach out 😁)

In service,

Dan Kriya (dkdasa108@gmail.com)

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DK Dasa

Former Monk | Bhakti Yoga Practitioner | Counseling Grad Student | passionate about sharing universal wisdom for personal, relational & spiritual wellness🙏