Don’t bolt from temptation, bolt the door to temptation

When a horse hears a sudden loud sound, like that of a gunshot or a thunderclap, it bolts from that sound. It starts running rapidly and wildly, in blind fear of that threatening sound and desperately wanting to get away from it.

When we start striving to live a principle-centered life that involves abstaining from self-centered sensual pleasures, we too may bolt from temptation. Not wanting to succumb to it and not wanting to take even a slight risk of succumbing to it, we may try to frantically flee from temptation.

However, no matter how fast we run, temptation can run faster and can catch up with us. Why? Because temptation doesn’t just exist outside, in the tempting objects that allure us and that can be avoided by fleeing from them. Temptation exists primarily inside, in our senses, mind and intelligence (Bhagavad-gita 03.40). And from there, it can delude us at any moment.

Moreover, even externally, temptation exists at a million places, places that we sometimes can’t anticipate and sometimes can’t avoid. That’s why bolting from temptation can set us up for a life of paranoia and ultimate failure.

What, then, is the solution? We can instead bolt the door to temptation. If we consider our temptation to be like a territory within us, we don’t cede that territory to the forces of illusion and try to flee. Instead, we see that territory as our responsibility to protect by diligence and vigilance, and to keep temptation outside our consciousness.

Just as a territory can be protected if the doors of entry into it are closed, similarly, we too can lock the door of our consciousness. How? By deciding to turn away from sense objects and focusing wholeheartedly on a higher purpose: the purpose of serving with devotion the all-attractive Supreme (02.61).

Think it over:

  • What does bolting from temptation mean?
  • How can we bolt the door to temptation?
  • Which temptation torments you the most? Do you bolt from it? Can you bolt the door to it?

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1 Comment

  1. JAPA helps you stymie the TEMPTATION

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