Activating our skeptical antenna
Insects usually have their antennae extended and on high alert. All the more so when they sense dangers, especially predators.
As spiritual souls residing in the material world, we live constantly in danger zone. The predators that can devour us at any moment are worldly temptations. Among the world’s many temptations, all of us have specific predators that especially endanger us: indulgences that we were habituated to in the past. They tempt us strongly due to the momentum of our past habits. These indulgences may range from over-eating, excessive TV watching and gossiping to sensual gratifications that violate our moral and spiritual principles.
If we analyze our past indulgencesdispassionately, we will realize that they have never made us truly happy. To the contrary, they have wasted lots of our time and troublesomely contaminated our consciousness.
Yet, when we encounter tempting situations, the familiarity of the setting and the memory of our past indulgences stultify our intelligence. We end up gullibly believing that the very same activity that had not given us any real pleasure in our past scores of indulgences will give us pleasure this time.
To develop healthy skepticism, we can use the metaphor of a skeptical antenna. When we enter into a tempting situation, we can activate our skepticism, just as insects activate their antenna in danger zone. For activating our skeptical antenna, we can consciously recollect our realizations about the insubstantiality of the temptation. This will enable us to view its present allure with skepticism.
By thus activating the skeptical antenna, we can dovetail our doubting faculty in devotional service. Pertinently, the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.26)(03.30) states that the doubting faculty is a prominent characteristic of the intelligence. The Bhagavad-gita (03.43) assures us that by careful use of our intelligence, we can conquer debasing temptations.
“Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Krishna consciousness] and thus – by spiritual strength – conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.”