Willpower is a finite resource – use it wisely
We are finite beings, and finite are all our resources, including our willpower. That our willpower is finite means that we can fight only so many battles against temptation.
Just by living and functioning in the world, our senses, especially our eyes, encounter many alluring objects. To successfully resist these unavoidable temptations, we need to conserve our willpower; we can’t afford to dissipate it in resisting avoidable temptations. Each battle, even when we win it, consumes our willpower.
Won’t exercising our willpower increase it? Maybe. But there are safer ways of exercising it. Willpower is required for focusing on constructive activities, especially the supremely constructive activity of serving Krishna. For example, to seriously study Krishna’s message, we need to apply ourselves determinedly. Suppose while studying the Gita on our computer, we feel tempted to read something trivial or see something inappropriate on the net. We may well resist that temptation, but that resistance will expend the willpower that we could have used for focused Gita-study. If we find ourselves battling that temptation regularly, we will be better off blocking net access for the duration of our study. With the door to that distraction firmly closed, we can use our willpower to fully absorb ourselves in the service at hand. Echoing such caution, the Bhagavad-gita (02.58) asks us to withdraw the senses from the sense objects.
When we thus take the safe way of avoiding temptations, we may not get the egoistic satisfaction of demonstrating our self-mastery by exposing ourselves to temptation. But we will get the far greater spiritual satisfaction of absorption in Krishna. And that absorption will purify us, thereby decreasing our vulnerability to temptation and increasing our inclination to naturally choose Krishna, the source of unlimited happiness.
By thus investing our finite willpower wisely, we can progressively relish infinite happiness.
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