Live Options

Someone could propose that the true path to inner peace is to walk into your closest multi-storey car park and smash the windscreen of every blue Vauxhall Astra while simultaneously screaming at the top of your voice! Well… it’s something you could conceivably do, but something I doubt anyone would seriously consider. Firstly, there is the small issue of criminal arrest. Secondly, it’s extremely difficult to logically appreciate how such an act could cause the desired benefit. Thirdly, we don’t really see significant numbers of people adopt this approach in their pursuit for tranquillity. While there are many options and choices in life, there is also an inbuilt intellectual screening process which filters out the nonsense.

Some years ago, the American Psychologist William James claimed that although there are a multitude of options in life, certain opportunities stand out above the rest due to key factors:

  • Practical – I can do it (without harmful consequences and drastic changes to my life)
  • Beneficial – I want to do it (because there is intrinsic logical value in this option)
  • Probable – I feel confident to do it (since many people have experienced the benefit)

If something is practical, beneficial and probable, it’s considered a “live option”, and it’s in our self-interest to invest time and energy into seriously considering it. To whimsically reject such opportunities would be irrational, unintelligent and unjustifiable. If there is something that could enhance your life, that is quite easily applicable, and is something that many people are clearly benefitting from, why would you not at least explore it?

If we objectively analyse wisdom traditions and spiritual paths it becomes strikingly obvious that they fulfil such criteria. The Bhagavad-gita propounds a spiritual practice that is incredibly practical. It doesn’t require massive lifestyle changes, but simple additions of yoga and meditation into one’s daily routine. There are huge benefits on a physical, emotional and spiritual level that make logical sense and become directly perceivable within a relatively short time. Furthermore, millions of people esteem the profundity of the Bhagavad-gita, and gain immense spiritual wisdom, insight and inner peace from its teachings. While one may not want to blindly follow it, surely it would be just as absurd to blindly doubt it. To categorically deny such traditions, such live options, without any significant investigation, suggests a stubborn, irrational and illogical predisposition towards a certain worldview. Ironically, the individuals who reject such traditions without thorough investigation, simultaneously pride themselves in being ‘scientific’ and ‘free from subjective superstition’!

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