When people face sudden disaster or death, they often realize that they have wasted so much of their life on unimportant things while neglecting important things. Why don’t we all get this realization earlier? What misleads us? It’s our mind.
To understand, here’s an analogy. Suppose someone gifts us a precious jewel. Appreciating its value, we keep it carefully. Suppose someone who is constantly with us has an eye on that jewel. They get us caught in so many things that we end up forgetting we even had that jewel.
With regard to life’s important things, we all are put into similar forgetfulness by our mind which is constantly with us, within us. During our life, we may be blessed with various valuable things: good health, loving relationships, and spiritual life rich with opportunities to connect with the all-attractive divine, Krishna. But our mind captivates our attention with so many distractions and temptations that we end up neglecting even materially valuable things such as health and family, what to speak of spiritually valuable things, which are not so easily perceivable. Why not?
The Bhagavad-gita (18.37) cautions that spiritual joys are concealed under a layer of initial poison, which often makes us downplay or delay them. In contrast, sensual indulgences come with a layer of initial nectar (18.38), which makes us unthinkingly gravitate toward them. Our mind frequently makes us obsess over these deceptive initial appearances, thereby taking us toward sensuality while taking away our spirituality.
How can we prevent such misevaluation? By regularly reading wisdom-texts like the Gita that remind us of the things that are truly valuable and by associating with serious spiritualists who are focused on those valuable things.