Find the balance between fidelity and flexibility by sincerity
When we try to live according to traditional devotional culture in our contemporary material surroundings, we face a constant challenge: “How much do I stick to the tradition and how much do I adapt to my surroundings?”
To meet this challenge, we need to tread the fine line that balances fidelity and flexibility. We connect with the tradition through fidelity, our faithfulness to its essential and inviolable principles. We connect with our surroundings through our flexibility, our readiness to adapt to the exigencies and opportunities of our surroundings.
Treading the fine line that balances fidelity and flexibility may seem like walking on a tightrope, a tense and ticklish endeavor at best. Fortunately, we have the example of advanced spiritual preceptors who walk across the tightrope with ease and grace.
How do they discover with such felicity the balance between fidelity and flexibility? By their sincerity.
They realize that the essence of devotion lies not just in fidelity and flexibility, but in the inner connection with Krishna. They refine their Krishna-connection by fidelity to the principles provided by the tradition. But they know that this Krishna-connection is to be lived not just in the memory of the past, but also in the dynamics of the present. So they see their surroundings as an opportunity to live in the light of that inner connection, and to also share that light with the world. By their inner connection with Krishna, they receive his guidance, as is promised in the Gita (10.10), about how best to integrate flexibility into their devotional repertoire.
By learning from their example and cultivating sincerity, we can also, by Krishna’s guidance, learn to balance fidelity and flexibility.
“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”