Focus not on where the inner voice is coming from, but on where it is taking
We often hear different voices within us. Some voices prompt us to act foolishly, some to act wisely, some to actions in between.
Gita wisdom names the various agents in our inner world: our mind, our intelligence, our ego, and beyond them all our Lord. The world within, like the world without, has both friends and enemies. Broadly speaking, the mind impels us towards short-sighted self-defeating choices, and the intelligence, towards far-sighted self-actualizing choices. The Bhagavad-gita (03.43) asks us to act based on our intelligence.
However, things aren’t always that simple. The same Gita (03.40) cautions that selfish desire is situated even in the intelligence. When the intelligence is thus corrupted, it rationalizes self-centered indulgences instead of resisting them. The ensuing internal confusion can be externally paralyzing.
How can we avoid such confusion? By shifting our focus. Rather than obsessing over choices where the moral contours are blurred, we can concentrate on choices where the contours are clear. To know these clear contours, we need to sharpen our intelligence by studying scripture to understand broadly which actions elevate us to spirituality and which degrade us to sensuality – and then use that intelligence to act spiritually (03.43).
With this intelligence, when we do the things we know are beneficial and avoid the things we know are harmful, we show our indwelling Lord that we genuinely want his guidance. Being pleased, he removes the inner darkness (10.11) and illumines our inner world, enabling us to discern better and choose better. When we attain purity coming from mercy (02.64), our intelligence becomes cleansed of corrupting worldly influences and becomes firmly established in reality. (02.65)
Thus, by following Krishna’s voice coming through scripture, we gradually become internally illumined to recognize and harmonize with his voice coming from within.
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