Let intelligence guard the path from impulse to intent
Impulse is an urge that comes to us, sometimes without our conscious bidding. Intent is a decision that comes out of us, with at least some level of conscious consent. Our consciousness is the arena where impulse becomes intent.
Impulse makes some proposal to us: “That looks enjoyable. Do it.” When we accept that proposal, it becomes intent. Most of our impulses, especially our baser impulses, are rash – they make such outrageous proposals that if we evaluated them rationally, we would reject them outright.
But impulses often present their proposals seductively and stealthily. Due to their seductiveness, they over-excite our imagination with fantasies of pleasure. Due to their stealthiness, we frequently don’t recognize them as outsiders sneaking into our consciousness; by the time we become aware of their presence, they have already entered so deep that we mistakenly assume that they are coming out from inside us, that they are our plans. Once we become beguiled into taking ownership of those proposals, we put our willpower into executing them, not evaluating them. Thus we end up doing unworthy things without even realizing what is happening till it is too late.
How can we protect ourselves from such degrading impulses?
By making our intelligence guard the path from impulse to intent.
Just as a guard prevents suspicious people from entering a high-security area, our intelligence can prevent unhealthy impulses from entering the high-security area of our consciousness. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (03.43) urges us to use our intelligence to become spiritually situated and thereby curb lusty impulses.
Gita wisdom educates our intelligence to see through the seductiveness of impulses. And it energizes our intelligence to detect the impulses, no matter how stealthy their intrusion.
When we guard our consciousness with such an educated and energized intelligence, impulses can do us no harm.