Indiscriminate indulgence makes the impulsive compulsive
No one desires to become an addict. When people drink, they usually want to have a good time with their friends. However, each time they drink, the desire to drink again becomes stronger and stronger till it becomes a compulsion and finally an addiction.
Even if we aren’t addicted to anything destructive, the underlying psychological dynamics that lead to addiction still apply to us. We all get impulses, be they to eat something, watch something, touch something or buy something. If we indiscriminately indulge in those impulses, believing that one indulgence won’t make a big difference, then that very lack of discrimination in indulgence makes a big difference, a disastrously big difference.
The Bhagavad-Gita (16.12) indicates that desires are like shackles. When we indulge in a particular object, an invisible rope is formed between our consciousness and that object. And with each successive indulgence, the desire-rope thickens and tightens, making resisting that desire increasingly difficult. As the desire becomes overpowering, the impulsive transmogrifies into the compulsive. And we end up bound, hooked, addicted.
If we can just be more discriminating before indulging in our impulses, we can protect ourselves from bondage. To sharpen our capacity to discriminate, we need to regularly study the Gita and remind ourselves of how our mind works and, especially, how it traps us.
More importantly, the Gita helps us fulfill our innate longing for pleasure in a better, more fulfilling way. It reveals the source of all pleasure, the all-attractive supreme, Krishna, and outlines an easy and effective way to connect with him: bhakti-yoga. When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, sublime fulfillment fills our heart, thus making us more immune to impulsive indulgences.
Thus, Gita wisdom increases our discrimination to perceive impulsive indulgence’s grave consequences and our satisfaction to transcend indulgence’s allure, thereby protecting us from temptation and addiction.
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