Choose to act your way to feelings, not feel your way to actions
“Acting our way to feelings” means choosing conscientiously to act based on our intelligence, even when our feelings don’t agree, till eventually those actions engender supportive feelings.
“Feeling our way to actions” means letting our feelings determine our actions and reserving intelligent actions for times when our feelings agree with our intelligence.
Children usually feel their way to actions, studying and playing as per their feelings. If left to themselves, most children would play most of the time and wouldn’t study enough to have good careers. That’s why responsible parents gently but firmly push them to study. Though the children may initially sulk, over time, they realize the importance of studying and even relish its joy.
We have grown-up bodies, but our mind still remains childish – it impels us to feel our way to actions.
The human form offers us eternal souls an opportunity for spiritual education that culminates in a glowing career of eternal life with Krishna. We have grown-up bodies, but our mind still remains childish – it impels us to feel our way to actions. Because our present feelings tend to be material rather than spiritual, feeling our way to actions means that we keep groping for fleeting worldly pleasures, thus staying trapped in material consciousness. Consequently, we can’t avail opportunities for spiritual growth and stay alienated from devotional happiness.
The Bhagavad-gita (09.14) states that serious devotees engage in devotional activities with rigid determination. Translated to the idiom of this article, this verse urges us to act our way to feelings, that is, to practice bhakti-yoga consistently, no matter how we feel. Though the mind may sulk initially at such discipline, steady contact with Krishna stimulates our swift spiritual growth. Soon, we realize the necessity of devotional service as our savior from material existence and relish its glory as the deliverer of life’s supreme happiness of pure love for Krishna.
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