Determination comes from the conviction that the prize is greater than the price
“Yet again I failed to keep my resolution! I will never be able to achieve self-mastery.” The mind may dishearten us with haunting thoughts like these when we repeatedly fail in our inner struggles.
Such a discouraging mind can be silenced, the Bhagavad-gita (06.25) indicates, by the conviction of our intelligence (buddhya dhriti-grihitaya). How can we develop this intellectual conviction? By calmly contemplating the Gita’s central message that we are souls who can attain real happiness only by curbing our material desires and striving to lovingly serve Krishna. Self-mastery essentially means redirecting our heart from the material level to the spiritual level. Thus, self-mastery demands a price – giving up material enjoyment – and delivers a prize: gaining spiritual happiness.
Contemplation on Gita wisdom grants us general conviction in the goal of self-mastery. However, when we make specific resolutions for achieving that self-mastery, we start wavering. Why? Because the mind starts whispering, “The price is too much for the prize.”
At such times, we need to prayerfully seek answers to probing questions such as the following:
- What is the prize that I will get by sticking to this resolution? Eternal, fulfilling happiness.
- What is the price that I will have to pay for it? Temporary, unsatisfying enjoyment.
- Is the prize greater than the price? Definitely, massively, infinitely.
These unequivocal answers will boost our intellectual conviction, which will silence the mind with irrefutable rejoinders when it starts whispering its lies.
By thus cultivating intellectual conviction, we will ensure that our resolutions not only survive, but also thrive. Thereafter, as our determination becomes increasingly firm, self-mastery doesn’t remain a distant dream, but becomes a living reality.
“Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the self alone and should think of nothing else.”