Even if we can’t change our desires, we can change our attitude towards our desires

When we aspire to live a principle-centered life, our worldly desires often tempt and divert us. How can we deal with them?

We can learn to see them as unwanted visitors. In the past, we might have welcomed them as sources of pleasure. But now we can see them as deceivers who dangle a drop of enjoyment but then drown us in an ocean of entanglement (Bhagavad-gita 05.22).

Even if we don’t want those desires, they still keep coming. Why? Because worldly impressions are stored in our mind. As we have indulged in those desires in the past, they keep tempting us towards similar indulgence. We can treat them as we would treat unwanted visitors that we can’t get rid of: we tolerate their presence, but refuse to attend to them. By such determined tolerance, we can gradually transcend those desires (05.23).

To sustain such tolerance, we need purposeful engagement. If some unwanted person comes when we are alone and idle, refusing to meet them may be difficult. But if we are already meeting someone and have a full schedule of meetings, saying no to them will be much easier.

Similarly, we can keep ourselves spiritually engaged. The most empowering engagement is devotional service to Krishna, the all-pure, all-powerful Supreme. In his service, if we keep ourselves busy in one engagement after another after another, then saying no to our lower desires will become much easier. And as we stay consistently engaged in Krishna’s service, we will become purified and attracted to him, thereby becoming less inclined to lower desires. Over time, those desires will decrease and disappear.

Thus, by striving to firmly say yes to Krishna, we can change our attitude towards our lower desires and, by the resulting purification, gradually change our desires.

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