I think the point of Krishna’s conversation with Arjuna is this: it’s not what you do that matters, it’s the intention underlying what you do that matters. In the story, Arjuna was upset at the idea of having to go to battle against his kinsmen — and Krishna basically talks him into it. Krishna explained that the act of fighting his family wasn’t evil as long as Arjuna had good intentions behind it. In the end, Arjuna felt fine about the situation and was able to fulfill his role as warrior and champion of virtue.
Like with Arjuna, we’re kinda just drifting through the narrative of life, expected to fulfill our particular role. And the point isn’t the specific actions we perform, but the attitude we take and the meaning we assign to each thing we do.
For example, I’m going to eat breakfast most mornings, it’s just something I do. I can eat it while feeling like a filthy little piggy stuffing my fat face — or I can eat it with the attitude that I’m starting my day off right, I can feel as though I’m consuming wholesome ingredients, the building-blocks for my body (now well-prepared for traveling through its daily journey). Either way, I’m eating breakfast, I’ve simply set the underlying intention to one I prefer.
Another example, I went out running this morning. I can think of it as a burdensome chore that’s necessary for making my flabby body less flabby. Or, I can think of it as an early morning adventure, a chance to see the streets from a different angle, unpopulated and dawn-lit — fulfilling my role as a suburban dad having fun with fitness and setting the tone for the day: an early-bird ready to catch the worm.
Another example, I went to the store yesterday — clothes-shopping with my friend. I can think of it as a waste of time that’s cutting into my oh-so-important schedule and as an example of wasteful consumerism — or, I can think of it as an opportunity to experience the feeling of togetherness with my delightful pal, and as a chance to get out and engage with the world in a lighthearted way.
I know what you’re thinking: so what, what’s the big deal, it’s just an attitude. SO WHAT?? Well it just so happens to be the primary point of the Bhagavad Gita: attitude matters!! THAT’S the wisdom you’re supposed to come away with. It makes ALL the difference in life. If you boil everything we do down to the act itself, it’s just dumb stuff we’re doing here — simply passing the time until we die. It’s the attitude we adopt and the meaning we ascribe that matters.
The stage is set, your co-stars are delivering their lines, your goals and aspirations are already built into your personality — you WILL play your role out no matter what — that’s not up for debate. The only question is whether you’ll welcome your part and enjoy yourself — or will you maintain a bad-attitude and grumble through the entire production. And if you ARE interested in enjoying yourself, the way in which you achieve satisfaction is by applying entertaining and pleasantly-significant reasons to everything you’re experiencing.