I’m driftin’, driftin’
Like a ship out on the sea
You know I’ve got nobody
In the whole world to care for me
If my baby would only take me back again
Yes, I know I’m a good for nothin’
But at least I’d have one friend
Listen to me, honey
I gave you all my money
Now tell me, what more can I do?
You’re such a sugary little girl
But I know you’ll never be true
Old blues songs may go out of style, but they never die. The “Driftin’ Blues,” a classic since 1945, highlights personal loneliness: to have loved and lost.
Tossed aside by the apple of his eye, the crushed male ego agonises over his vanished opportunity for conquest. His constant craving for being babied crashes to ground zero of reality. “Yes, she’s sweet, but like a honey bee, she stung . . . ”
In today’s culture of party hardily and hookup mightily, some men or women decide they can no longer keep up the pace, in the frantic hedonistic race. Burned out, the young woman especially may start longing for “more understanding” and “more of my own space.” Differences magnify, the fork in the road looms just ahead.
She’ll find someone else, more suitable for her current state of ever fluctuating emotions and mind. Meanwhile, the ex-partner, left flesh-hungry and ego devastated, can’t handle the rejection. A predator denied his prey, he sinks into depression—until he can score again, riding high, he thinks.
The wounds from relationship breakdowns are so excruciating, they become a prime cause for suicide. “Look at me—without her, I’m not half the man I used to be. Livin’ life is not worthwhile . . .”
Neuroscientists say that the human brain treats relationship rejection similar to how it processes physical hurts. A broken heart feels the same, to the brain, as a broken arm. That means, to ease the pain of both social repudiation and physical injury, the brain activates the same neurochemical response.
Men are much more likely than women to take their own life—a puzzle intriguing social researchers for generations. In countries with the highest number of suicides, the male rate exceeds the female by as high as six times. But it is equally true that women are around three times more likely than men to attempt taking their own life.
The difference, pyschologists say, is that a female suicide attempt is often a form of SOS, a desperate cry for attention and help. Actually aiming to provoke an immediate response, ladies generally don’t choose the most efficient and sure methods for ending their own life. Their attempt often simply remains just that—an attempt. Men, however, don’t mess around. Sad to say, they generally don’t disclose their decision to anyone. Therefore, undetered by intervention, they follow through.
Let’s look at the United States as an example. Of the 30,000 people who commit suicide each year, 80 percent are men. Overall, males terminate themselves at rates four times higher than females. Yet, certain age groups of men are even more vulnerable. As the elderly years progress, the ratio increases to nearly eighteen times more men killing themselves than women do.
Material Man has a problem, yes. But let’s not dump all the blame on him. Irrespective of our gender and its particular issues, the fundamental problem of material existence dominates us all.
Beyond gender differences, beyond social and romantic relationships, even beyond the cosmos, is the ultimate root of our existential crisis. We are neglecting the original source, the Supreme Complete Whole. No matter the size and type of our physical body, we are tiny spiritual particles, housed within. Regardless of how much we embed ourselves in another person’s temporary body and mind, we cannot solve our underlying problem: ultimate disconnectivity.
Thanks to the bhakti-yoga wisdom culture, we can go much deeper than ordinary psychological and social knowledge. A graduate bhakti text explains:
“When one deviates from his original spiritual consciousness, he loses the capacity to remember his previous position or recognize his present one. When remembrance is lost, all knowledge acquired is based on a false foundation. When this occurs, learned scholars consider that the soul is lost.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.22.31)
The bhakti sages, since ancient times, teach that “lost soul” means not that our real self has disappeared, but that our essential awareness of our spiritual self has vanished. Although materially expert or awesome, we build our life’s lessons and experiences on quicksand. Indeed, society and cohorts may crown us a veritable mover and shaker—but meanwhile, the havoc of illusion has disrupted the crucial knowledge of our eternal spiritual identity.
Consequently, struggling, battling to function in what we have labelled “the real world,” we can’t recall our original spiritual status and activities, or grasp comprehensively the magnitude of our present slumber.
When we fall asleep, we forget ourselves. Dreams swallow us. In the same way, lost in the material dreamlike mirage, we lose our remembrance of our permanent identity as spiritual parts of Krishna, the Supreme Enjoyer.
Mistaking the incomputable cosmic shadow known as material existence to be the essence, blinded to my identity as pure spiritual soul, part of the Supreme Spiritual Whole, day and night, in effect, I base my life on seeing pink elephants. Really—our predicament is that distorted!
I am hallucinating that I am severed, amputated, functioning on my own. Misconstruing the self both as disconnected and as matter, next I feel artificially empowered to exploit—to varying degrees of refinement or ruthlessness—the earth’s resources and living beings.
We call this futile crusade “progress”—often hailing it as “the advancement of civilisation.”
To counteract the impenetrable fog of individual and mass illusion, the bhakti texts, the pinnacle of the yoga system, prescribe spiritual sound.
As an alarm clock wakes us from the dream world and initiates our daily routine, similarly the Krishna mantra rouses us and impels our breakout from material consciousness.
The highest goal of yoga is to reconnect our spoke to the ultimate hub. All the spokes, the living entities, radiate through that supreme hub, the central point of infinite personal attractiveness known as Krishna. By connecting to other persons via that Supreme Source, then we can flourish in truly fulfilling and meaningful personal relationships.
The same old blues and the brand new blahs disappear in personal bonds based on mutual nonmaterial nourishment. Try it: partners and friends in enlightenment, journeying together for pure consciousness.
Nov 30, 2022
ISKCON News Staff
Nov 27, 2022
ISKCON Governing Body Commission
Nov 26, 2022
Ekachakra Prana Dasa
Nov 19, 2022
ISKCON Juhu Communications