Consciousness is recoverable, but time isn’t
Spiritual growth centers on purification and elevation of consciousness. And our consciousness is the asset that always stays with us. So, the evolved consciousness acquired by spiritual growth is lasting, unlike the fleeting assets acquired by material advancement.
Even if materialistic conditions or conditionings make us lose our spiritual bearings, our attraction towards transcendence will remain forever. And it will eventually resurface, prompting us to carry on with our spiritual pursuit. This insight about the eternality of our spiritual asset can encourage us, especially when we are disheartened by the demanding battle against our lower desires.
Still, even such an encouraging spiritual insight can be misappropriated by the mind to perpetuate our illusion. For example, the mind can prompt us to slacken our spiritual practices by rationalizing thus: “Even if you don’t become purified in this life, you can always practice in a future life – your consciousness is recoverable.”
That’s true. But another pertinent truth is that time isn’t recoverable. Every moment that we lose, we lose forever. And we need time for purifying ourselves of our past impurities as well as the impurities we acquire during the phases of distraction. So, each lost moment means that we prolong our stay in material existence, thereby increasing our worldly miseries.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.45) cautions that yogis have to come to the level of strict practice for attaining perfection. If we have to eventually practice strictly, what will we gain by being lax now? If we need to fight against our mind and senses, either now or later, why should we subject ourselves to the misery of material existence by putting off that fight?
By meditating on both the eternality of our spiritual asset – consciousness – and the inevitability of the battle to purify it, we can be both encouraged and determined in our spiritual practice.
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