Don’t just work on our conditionings – work with our conditionings

Suppose someone has a condition with no easy cure, such as blindness. Though they may keep trying to cure that condition, they will also work to create a good life within that condition.  

What applies to conditions also applies to conditionings such as lust, anger, and greed. When we strive to grow spiritually, our conditionings drag us toward self-destructive indulgences. That’s why we need to work on our conditionings, purifying ourselves of them by discipline and diligence. For such purification, the process of bhakti-yoga is remarkably potent. Why? Because it connects us easily and efficaciously with the all-pure, all-attractive supreme, Krishna. 

Yet different conditionings may infect us to different degrees. If a particular infection is deep-rooted, overcoming it may take a long, long time. If we reduce our spiritual endeavors to working on our conditionings alone, we may not get much success, thereby becoming disheartened and quitting. 

To prevent such discouragement, we need to also work with our conditionings: we need to keep practicing bhakti within the constraints imposed by our conditionings. The Bhagavad-gita exhorts us to continue bhakti even if we succumb to grievous wrongdoings (09.30-31) and declares that Krishna is the well-wisher of everyone (05.29) – not just of the pure or the self-controlled.

In bhakti, our conditionings are limitations, not disqualifications. Within those limitations, we can still practice bhakti and connect with Krishna. Through that connection, we will get inner satisfaction. That will empower us to persevere spiritually and to simultaneously work on our conditionings, even if with limited success. 

By re-conceptualizing spiritual life as not just working on our conditionings, but also working with our conditionings, we can get a taste of transcendence, even while we are conditioned. Being thus encouraged, we can move toward Krishna steadily and eventually succeed. 


Think it over:

  • Why can working on our conditionings be discouraging?
  • What does working with our conditionings mean?
  • How can we move toward Krishna steadily?



05.29 A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.

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