Don’t just battle over your choices – choose your battles
Battling over our choices refers to struggling to make the right choice while staying in the presence of temptation.
Choosing our battles refers to deciding which temptation to face and which to flee.
Suppose we have trouble resisting the temptation to access inappropriate sites on the net. Then battling over our choices would refer to having unfiltered Internet access and straining to restrict our net surfing. Choosing our battles would refer to deciding that such a battle is unnecessary and restricting our net access using an Internet filter. Such restriction is a contemporary application of the time-honored cultural principle of restricting free mixing between the genders to minimize the possibility of wrongdoing, accidental or intentional. The Bhagavad-gita (02.58) recommends such a safety-first approach by urging us to withdraw our senses from the sense objects, as a tortoise withdraws its limbs within its strong shell.
Of course, we can’t always choose our battles; some temptations may come upon us unavoidably, forcing us to fight against them. But in our war against temptation, more often than not, we thrust ourselves into battles we don’t need to fight and then get battered and disheartened.
Avoiding avoidable danger is not cowardice – it is common sense. While walking, we don’t walk in the middle of a road and struggle to evade vehicles; we walk on the footpath and do something productive, maybe converse with a friend.
From the point of spiritual productivity, we don’t grow in our devotion just by saying no to temptation; we grow by saying yes to Krishna. And we can’t say yes to him wholeheartedly if half of our heart is constantly considering the option of saying yes to temptation. Best to not leave that option open so that we can more easily choose the best option: Krishna.
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