Good day Uptrennd traders, with a little bit of effort at self-reflection, we can easily observe the ways and habits of our conditioned mind. On the journey of self-discovery or “knowing thyself”, a healthy personality can learn from the past and see itself in perspective. Where we draw the line regarding what we feel is ideal behavior and attitude is, however, usually subjective and relative. So how do we understand what is right from wrong? We look to the “users manual” on life, the universe and everything, which for me is the Vedas, the ancient Sanskrit texts on yoga.
In a modern society, the norm or common social etiquette of the day is merely that which your political leaders say it is. In other words our morals change with the weather or the shifting leadership through every generation. What was taboo before can become fashion overnight, as the politicians introduce their agendas for social engineering. This is a fatally flawed system, potentially based on whim and personal motive.
To help us stay focused we need a yardstick or guideline that is true for all times, and that yardstick is one that therefore is based on eternal truths and principles. It takes into consideration the fact that a person today is the same in essence as one from the dawn of creation, on a soul level. For example the concept of “do no harm” is an absolute standard that can apply to all people at all times.
Such principles are found in the yoga texts called the Vedas, which date back 5000 years in written form and were orally spoken before that, to hearers with better memory than we have today. The Vedas deal with relative truths as well as absolute truths, yet they also know the difference and discriminate accordingly.
For example, in Bhagavad Gita we hear Krishna say to his friend and student Arjuna:
त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन ।
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ॥ ४५ ॥
“The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.”
Bhagavad Gita As It Is, chapter 2:45 translated by Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta
Here Krishna is explaining that the larger body of the 4 Vedas deal with our relative conditioned state of consciousness in the human form of life, under the psychological divisions known as the 3 modes of nature. These are “sattva” (goodness), “rajas” (passion) and “tamas” (ignorance). We are all under the influence of these types of behavior all the time, to varying individual degrees.
However, this verse takes us further than mere psychological analysis and gives us the actual goal, which is to become transcendentally situated. The path toward transcendence begins with raising the psychology from ignorance, to passion to goodness because goodness is the platform from which we can take the step to transcendence, where we can access our original eternal natures. Goodness is recommended but it is just a stepping stone.
There is a whole chapter on the characteristics of these three modes of nature in Bhagavad Gita and one can investigate the details to learn which personality traits fall under which of the modes, but the Gita also spends several chapters describing the path of transcendence, or the qualities of such a state of being. This very same verse here already explains the fundamental basics by saying we should firstly be free from duality.
Now that is a tall order, and one which we might spend a lifetime perfecting. It implies being equipoised in happiness and distress, loss and gain, birth and death. Secondly, the verse describes the goal of transcendence to be a state of being where we are free from anxiety for gain and safety. This is crucial advice for all of us and especially traders, who can become obsessed with profit and loss.
This is unfortunately one of the pitfalls of being a trader, in that it pulls the mind into a focus on trying to make gains all the time, and thus drags the mind away from a feeling of contentment in the present moment. Gain and safety are lower mundane survival instincts which may be there to keep the body alive, but they are very much situated in the lower modes of passion.
Therefore in the long run, if we want to rise up out of the influence of the lower modes of material nature and become transcendentally situated in consciousness, we need to retire from the life of a trader, always meditating on profit and loss and the urge for “more”. We need to also retire from the need to defend, which is driven by anxiety for safety. These base chakra demands need to be left behind as we evolve beyond them on the path of transcendence.
This is a simple yet sublime truth, and based on this one verse in the Gita, we can analyze our personality and observe just where our level of focus and consciousness lies. I’m personally aware of my passionate nature, which still clings to the accumulation of profit, and is also heavily defensive regarding the protection of the body. As a result, I speak from experience as a trader and someone under the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance.
I know the teachings of the Gita in theory, yet I’m still under the influence of the material energy. Theoretical knowledge is a good foundation, but now application needs to still improve. And that is where retirement at the later stages of life comes into play. At least we should know the goal, based on education, and then we have a lofty height to aspire to. Most people are unaware of the level of their conditioning, what to speak of working toward transcending it. Reading the Gita will give us the theory and direction in which to aspire, which is why I highly recommend it as a reference for any serious human being who wishes to perfect their life.
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