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Why do external factors disturb us so much?

The external factors disturb us so much because of our identification with them. Some objects, persons, power, or positions become part of our personality, rather sometimes, the centres of our personality. We feel that we are lost when they are lost. We get alienated from our personality.

We become slave to the wealth we have created; we get imprisoned in the house we have built; we sell ourselves to the institution we have originated; the book we have written becomes our very soul; similarly, power becomes the centre of our personality. We alienate from ourselves by identification with something other than ourselves. This is called self-alienation.

The things we identify ourselves with are always subject to change, because they are part of the changing environment, and these changes will enkindle different kinds of feelings within us.

In Vyasa’s commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra we come across this following passage: ‘Identifying oneself with seen and unseen objects, one rejoices feeling one’s self enhanced by possessing them, and by losing them one grieves feeling that he himself is lost. This is quite natural for the unawakened.’

There must be spiritual awakening in us. We must constantly contemplate on our true nature, the Atman, beyond body, mind, and the senses. This will weaken our identification with the body and thereby with external objects also. During meditation, we must feel our separate existence dissociating ourselves from the mental states.

Source - The Psychological Aspects of Spiritual Life Swami Nityasthananda – From Prabuddha Bharata Feb 2016