I've taken to people watching a lot these days. Just plop yourself in an area and just sit and look. It's amazing what you will see. People are fighting, smiling, conversing, hurting, shopping, crying, laughing, thinking... As I witness this, I often wonder about their lives. Some seem as though they "have it all". I've often noticed with myself that if I'm not careful, it's easy to get sucked into the polished veneer many present to the external world.
It's easy to compare and think, "Wow everyone seems happier than I am" but fortunately, as I'm getting older and getting to know many on a much deeper level, that illusion is steadily starting to crumble. It serves as a constant reminder to me that the western conception of satisfaction/happiness is something that happens at you, but that's not accurate. Satisfaction is actually an austerity that one has to practice as explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
It's so easy to put the blame on "the universe", Krsna or anybody else who gets in the way of our desires. But the only person we should hold accountable for our satisfaction, or more likely, lack thereof, is ourselves. Truth be told, that never sits right with me! LOL! I know it's the truth, but it doesn't and if I reflect I can only come to the conclusion it's because I don't want to take responsibility of my satisfaction. As almost everything else, it's so easy to put the blame or obligation on someone else.
So what to do if you're like me? Someone who knows that they are responsible for their own satisfaction but still finds it difficult to take full responsibility for it. The only conclusion I've come to is to associate with those who actually take responsibility for their satisfaction. You'll notice that those who do, spend much more time trying to help others by giving them Krsna who ultimately is the only person who can fill that Krsna sized hole in our hearts. Furthermore, they are grateful and positive. They don't focus on what went wrong or who supposedly caused them pain, but instead practically live the words Lord Brahma once spoke:
tat te 'nukampāḿ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaḿ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim. SB. 10.14.8
It's December 30, 2011. As many prepare for tomorrow night's festivities or a quiet night in to ring in 2012, I'm revisiting an old resolution. I'd like to take responsibility for my own satisfaction and stop waiting for it to just "come to me." I pray that in 2012 I may develop the proper consciousness to serve the vaisnavas.