Even if we can’t be spiritually joyful, we can be spiritually purposeful

Whenever anyone seeks to achieve anything wonderful or even worthwhile, they know that they have to work for it.

Consider tennis players, Even if they love tennis, still they don’t find all the workouts, diets and various daily disciplines enjoyable. They would just prefer to just play tennis on the court. But they know that how well they perform on the court is influenced hugely by how well they discipline themselves during the rest of their lives. Even if discipline isn’t joyful, they remain purposeful – and their purposefulness carries them through the joyless phases.

Curiously however, we often overlook the similar importance of purposefulness in our spiritual life, being too enamored by the expectation of spiritual joy. When we start practicing spiritual life, we often unrealistically expect to relish spiritual happiness immediately and constantly. But our conditionings may prevent us from relishing some aspects of spiritual life. Or the modes may subject us to phases of tastelessness.

The Bhagavad-gita (02.41) reminds us that as spiritual seekers, we need one-pointed intelligence – we need to be spiritually purposeful. By remembering that we are engaged in the process of purification, which takes time but will gradually activate our immortal love for Krishna, thereby granting everlasting happiness, we can boost our determination and purposefulness.

During the seeker stage, relishing joy constantly in our spiritual life is not in our hands – it requires purification and the mercy of Krishna and his devotees. But remaining purposeful is largely in our hands; by diligent study of scripture and regular association of purposeful devotees, we can create stimuli that remind us of our higher purpose. The strength of our purpose will enable us to endure the phases of joylessness, till eventually purification will bring about the culmination of our persistent purposefulness in perennial joyfulness.

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