If we are tormented by strong conscience and weak willpower, the solution is strengthening willpower, not weakening conscience

We all face situations in our life wherein we feel impelled to do things that go against our values and principles. At such times, we often feel tormented because of two factors: our conscience, our inner sense of right and wrong, is strong; and our willpower, our inner power to choose right over wrong, is weak. 

To be tormented is never pleasant. We want to get out of that state as quickly as possible. An easy way to get out of that state is by weakening our conscience so that we don’t feel bad about our morally inadequate actions. To better contextualize our actions, we could adopt a model of our inner world comprising four quadrants. Those quadrants would be weak conscience and weak willpower; strong conscience and weak willpower; weak conscience and strong willpower; strong conscience and strong willpower.

If we weaken our conscience, we make ourselves defenseless against future temptations and degradations, ending up on a trajectory that is destructive and self-destructive. 

Thankfully, we can choose a more constructive approach; we can strengthen our willpower. Gita wisdom helps us strengthen our willpower by linking with the source of all power, the omnipotent supreme, Krishna. Bhakti-yoga is a time-honored process that enables us to connect with Krishna and therein experience higher insight and taste. The Bhagavad-gita (10.10) states that if we strive to serve Krishna in a mood of devotion, he helps us by illumining our inner world, thereby enabling us to choose wisely. 

But doesn’t practicing bhakti-yoga require willpower? Yes, it does. Thankfully, bhakti-yoga is an accommodatingly multi-level process, allowing us to connect with Krishna at whatever level is presently practical for us (12.08-12); we can start with whatever willpower we have. And we can use our present willpower most effectively if we use it first not to fight against our lower desires but to connect with Krishna, thereby multiplying our willpower.  

 

Think it over:

  • Why may we feel tormented?
  • Why is weakening our conscience easy and dangerous?
  • How can we strengthen our willpower?

 

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10.10 To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.

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