Authentic Self: How Dr. Michael Gervais and the Bhagavad Gita relate
"Failure is not making a mistake. That is not failure. Failure is not being authentic. Failure is not going for it. Failure is being small. Whether you win or not, if you're authentically you and you go for it, that's really what it's about. When you play it safe and you're small, your whole day is failing, your whole month, your whole year." - Dr. Michael Gervais
I listen to The Tim Ferriss Show while driving a lot. It is a podcast that offers insights into extraordinary people's lives. Recently, Tim Ferris had Dr. Michael Gervais on as a guest. Dr. Gervais is a sports psychologist and helps teams like the Seattle Seahawks to championship seasons as well as olympians. Tim asked Gervais about a failure he could recall and Gervais responded with the above quote.
Brynn and I teach a Bhagavad Gita and Holy Bible cross-study course on Tuesday nights at Elemental Yoga and the Mind Arts. For those of you who may not know, the Bhagavad Gita is a holy text from the East. It is a story about a war between a family of kings. It is not meant to be read as a historical text but rather a look at our own inner journey in this outward world.
Arjuna, the main character of the Bhagavad Gita, speaks with his consort, Krishna, near the beginning of the book. He surveys the battlefield and sees all of his relatives looking back at him. Arjuna tells Krishna it is wrong for him to fight, to kill his relatives. He puts his bow down, saying, "I will not fight."
Krishna, representing the inner authority of the individual, tells Arjuna he must fight. In fact, it is his duty to fight. Krishna tells Arjuna that his relatives are already dead, that he is merely the actor in this divine play. This statement represents the need for unproductive thoughts, beliefs, and actions to be eliminated within ourselves. Arjuna is told his relatives are already dead because as he moves toward his Real Self, all of these characteristics disharmonious to the Self must be transformed. For Krishna, the inner authority, the reunion of every individual soul back to God is inevitable.
The despondency of Arjuna reflects the quote from Dr. Gervais. By making excuses out of fear, shame, depression, anger, etc. for inaction, we paralyze our ability to grow and stay the same. This means our opportunity for expansion of consciousness is hindered and our images we have for our future self is halted.
We are merely players in this divine drama. The more we can address what is directly in front of us, the more we take steps to realizing our full potential. There is no such thing as skipping steps. Everyone has a different journey, so don't compare the path of others to what is in front of you.
Remember, by choosing not to fight, by choosing not to continually and constantly innovate and change our unproductive beliefs, attitudes, and actions, we stay small. Be big, my friends.