Determination means to place our intention above our emotion
We all want to be determined, at least about some things that are important to us. But frequently our determination lets us down. That may make us question: Is determination like a gift that some people have and some don’t?
Before we can answer that question, let’s consider another, more fundamental question: what is determination? When external obstacles dishearten us or internal moods de-energize us, if we persevere in our intention, then we can be said to be determined. Put succinctly, determination means to place our intention above our emotion.
Our emotions are flickering. Sometimes, they work for us, that is, in harmony with our intentions. And sometimes, they work against us. Therefore, we need to base our intention on something higher than our emotions. The Bhagavad-gita states that determination in the mode of goodness (18.33) centers on regulating the senses by sustained yoga practice. The mind and senses induce within us desires and emotions that often run contrary to our principles, our intelligence and our best interest. Such self-sabotaging emotions need to be curbed – in fact, keeping our emotion subordinate to our intention is the essence of determination.
How can we do so? By committed yoga practice. The best yoga, the Bhagavad-gita (06.47) says, is bhakti yoga – the highest yogis meditate on the supreme object of devotion, Krishna. When we connect with Krishna, we get higher insight and taste by which we can turn away from lower emotions and stay fixed in our intention. Bhakti-yoga connects us with all-pure Krishna, thereby purifying us of the disruptive emotions that degrade our determination.
And when we see our various obligations and aspirations as service to Krishna, we can infuse them with a similar strong intention that will raise them above the oscillation of our emotions, thereby enabling us to pursue them determinedly.
Think it over:
- How can we know whether we are determined?
- What is determination in the mode of goodness?
- How does bhakti-yoga practice enhance our determination?
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