Don’t let the mind make you fight more battles than you need to
If soldiers while fighting a battle agonize about a reversal in yesterday’s battle or worry about the danger in tomorrow’s battle, they will undermine their capacity to fight today’s battle.
The same applies to our practice of bhakti-yoga and the concomitant inner war against our lower desires. The central strategy for winning this war is: focus on Krishna. But we are distracted from him by our mind, which often acts as our enemy (Bhagavad-gita 06.06). The mind diverts our thoughts to our past lapses, thereby demoralizing us. Or if we shrug off past diversions and manage to focus on Krishna, it makes us apprehensive that we won’t be able to sustain such focus in future.
If we let ourselves get distracted thus either to the past or the future, we start feeling burdened, even crushed, thinking that we will never be able to win. And that’s true – we can’t win if our energy is being dissipated in fighting simultaneously on three fronts: past, present and future.
But we don’t have to fight past and future battles. Even if we have sinned in the past, Krishna still loves us – he hasn’t abandoned us; he is still there in our heart and is still giving us the opportunity to link with him. Even if we can’t maintain focus on Krishna in future, still our present focus will keep us pure now, which is itself a significant victory. And that present purity will boost our spiritual strength, thereby improving our prospects in future battles. Therefore, the present battle is what matters most – and it is a winnable battle if we focus on it alone.
By refusing to fight the battles that the mind wants us to fight, we can win the battle that the mind doesn’t want us to fight.