Competing illusions are still illusions
Suppose while driving a car we come to a fork and worry about which turn to take. But if we learn that we are on the wrong road and that both turns take us away from our destination, our worry over the choice becomes irrelevant.
When we find ourselves agonizing about certain choices, we need to examine our basis for choosing. The Bhagavad-gita explains that subtle forces of nature known as modes shape the desires that arise within us when we perceive worldly objects. Sometimes, several desires pull us in different directions because more than one mode influences us simultaneously. The Gita (14.10) indicates that the modes often compete within our consciousness to gain control over us. Thus, if the two lower modes, passion and ignorance, vie for supremacy, we find ourselves torn between two courses of action, not realizing that both are fundamentally illusions.
For example, when someone criticizes us, we may feel torn between self-pity induced by ignorance and revenge fantasy induced by passion. But neither of these options is likely to improve the situation, so we are essentially worrying about choosing between two competing illusions.
When we find ourselves caught in indecision, we need to introspect and understand which mode is influencing us when. By a regular regimen of spiritual practices such as meditation and scriptural study, we can sharpen our introspection, thereby increasing our perceptiveness of subtle realities such as the modes.
Based on the findings of our introspection, we can choose to first raise our consciousness towards goodness and transcendence by remembering that we are souls meant to love and serve Krishna. This remembrance brings to the forefront of our consciousness the question of how we can best serve. And from that service attitude emerges by divine grace, as the Gita (10.10) assures, intelligence to find the best way ahead.
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