Falling down is not failure – staying down is
Some devotee-seekers ask, “While striving to live according to devotional principles, we sometimes slip and fall. How can we best deal with such falls?”
Not by getting demoralized and staying down, but by gathering determination and rising again. To curb demoralization and cultivate determination, we can meditate on the longevity of spiritual practice and the infallibility of Krishna’s love.
To curb demoralization and cultivate determination, we can meditate on the longevity of spiritual practice and the infallibility of Krishna’s love.
Spiritual growth is a long, often multi-lifetime, process. From that long-term perspective, a few brief falls are mere blips – unless we unwittingly prolong them. Our falls are usually induced by spikes in our unrighteous desires. Even if those desire-spikes knock us down, what we do between those spikes remains in our hands. If we let our spike-triggered falls dishearten us, then our falling down degenerates into a staying down, and we end up as spiritual failures – not because external forces dragged us down, but because internal choices kept us down. Thankfully, we always have the power to make healthier choices. As soon as a desire-spike passes and we regain our spiritual bearings, we can use our free will to rise again and seek Krishna’s shelter.
To boost our morale, we can get further inspiration by meditating on Krishna’s unfailing love for us. In the Bhagavad-gita (09.30), he declares as saintly those devotees who despite misbehaving stay determined to serve him. Their determination conveys their attitude of not staying down, even if they fall down. And Krishna’s declaration conveys that he still loves us and wants our love.
By meditating on Krishna’s love-filled words, we can take heart amidst our falls and resume our practice of bhakti-yoga. Steady devotional practice will purify us, gradually making us strong enough to check and counter future desire-spikes. By that inner conquest, the next verse (09.31) indicates, we will attain virtuousness and peacefulness in everlasting devotion.
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