Determination means to decouple emotion from action
Some of us may feel, “I don’t have determination – I just can’t stick to my resolutions.” We almost treat determination like a mystical gift, something others have been blessed with and we have been left without.
However, determination needn’t be seen in terms of some mystical endowment or bereavement. The essence of determination is to create a distance between the emotion we feel presently and the intention we cherish and the action it leads to.
Consider the example of fasting. Normally, whenever we feel the emotion of hunger, we respond with the action of eating. Though this is the normal and natural response, it is by no means an inevitable response. If we have decided to fast for religious, therapeutic or other reasons, then we override the emotion of hunger by the power of our intention to pursue our reasonend resolution.
The same principle of subordinating our emotion to our higher intention and to mold our action accordingly can be universalized in determination of any form. Even if we don’t feel like doing something that we have resolved to do, we decouple that feeling from our resolved action and persevere with the latter.
The Bhagavad-gita (18.33-35) outlines determination in the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Therein, determination in the mode of goodness is defined as regulating the actions impelled by our mind and senses. And such regulation can be best effected by unflinching yoga practice. The Gita (06.47) declares the topmost yogis to be those who fix their consciousness on Krishna. Such divine absorption is the heart of bhakti-yoga.
If we train ourselves in bhakti-yoga practice, then the ensuing connection with all-attractive Krishna grants a higher satisfaction. Then we can disregard the lower sabotaging emotion and persevere in our principled, purposeful action.
Thus does devotion deepen determination.
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