You know, that big game everyone is talking about. Did you win? Did you lose?
As I write this, all of Canada is gripped with an intense fervour wishing, hoping, even praying for a win by the Toronto Raptors Basketball team. This is the first time the team has even made it to the finals, and they are playing against another team that is equally if not more formidable, the Golden State Warriors.
Sure, games are an exciting distraction, will this player score, will that player block? How beautifully this player ran, how skilfully that player dribbled, and look at this one’s aim! But how much should we be getting into all this?
There are the Warriors fans, and there are the Raptors fans… each “fighting” each other, either in friendly banter, or downright ungentlemanly nastiness. All because “if we lose, they win”, or “if we win, they lose”. And of course, everyone wants to win.
But in the words of one of my spiritual masters Vaisesika Dasa, “YOU DIDN’T EVEN PLAY!!!”
As embodied living entities, we identify with various designations, such as I am Canadian, I am American, I am Californian, I am Texan, I am a Torontonian, I am Rich/Poor/Smart/Strong/Weak/Minority/… And we identify with these designations so strongly that any affront to any of these designations becomes an affront to our very selves. But we are not these bodies. We are not the body, we are not even the mind. We are spirit souls.
प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः ।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ॥ २७ ॥
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.Bhagavad Gita 3.27
So, someone arbitrarily decides to support one team or the other, for whatever reason “I was born in Toronto man”, or “I just love California”. Or even “that player looks like my cousin”. And from that arbitrary decision, one builds up all sorts of attachments. Even ridiculous nonsense like “Everytime I get up to go use the washroom, the other team scores, so I won’t go”
The problem gets more and more acute because every designation comes with a set of other designations, and we get caught up inside a designation inside a designation inside a designation… ad infinitum. It’s almost like living inside a dream inside a nightmare inside a dream inside a fantasy inside…
So much so that we don’t even know who we are any more! If the handsomely paid players from various places around the world that happened to be called “The Toronto Raptors” win against the handsomely paid players from various places around the world that happened to be called “The Golden State Warriors”, I’m supposed to be happy or sad? Why?
We need to wake up and see how deeply we are being manipulated in each of these situations where we identify with a designation that is material. As free non-material particles with free will, that is a disgrace to us. And what is even more horrifying is that we have collectively agreed to be manipulated!
What do you identify with?