Let intelligence be the inspector of impulse, not its incubator

In a cricket match, a well-set batsman sometimes hits a rash shot and gets out, triggering a collapse that causes the team to lose from a winning position.

Such incidents demonstrate how our impulses can make us act imprudently. Of course, not all impulses are bad; some can be good – we call such impulses hunches or gut feelings.

To evaluate whether our impulses are harmful or helpful, we need to inspect them with our intelligence. Such inspection is especially critical when we strive to lead a principle-centered life. Our intelligence can safeguard us when impulse drags us towards sensuality, immorality and even perversity.

Unfortunately, that very intelligence is sometimes taken over by impulses, especially those associated with powerful passions such as lust. The Bhagavad-gita (03.40) highlights this danger when it indicates that lust occupies not just the senses and the mind but also the intelligence. Intelligence hijacked by impulse no longer remains impulse’s inspector, but becomes its incubator. That is, when a lusty impulse arises, our intelligence hides it carefully in the background of our consciousness so that people don’t detect it, and their image of us as self-controlled is maintained. .

Impulse incubated by intelligence grows, eventually impelling us towards immoral indulgence in private. Over time, such indulgence reinforces the impulse, which then impels us to more brazen indulgences that can’t be hidden. When such misdemeanors come to light, they can wreck our life. Even if they never come to light, they still incriminate us in bad karma. And the underlying misdirection of consciousness deprives us of authentic spiritual growth and happiness.

By studying scripture regularly and practicing bhakti-yoga diligently, we can de-corrupt our intelligence. Better still, we can strengthen it in its essential position as the inspector of impulse, thereby enhancing our capacity to make wise decisions.

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We are defined by what we stand for, not what we stand against
Longing is the test of taste
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