Our attachments reflect our capacity for determination
When we are unable to give up our attachments, we may become disheartened, thinking, “I have read so many books, heard so many talks, made so many resolutions – and still I remain trapped by this attachment. Alas! I don’t have any determination.”
At one level, our attachments do reflect our lack of determination. But at another level, they reflect our capacity for determination. If we are striving to give up a habit, then this endeavor implies that we have undergone some unpleasant consequences of that indulgence. Such consequences may be physical, financial, emotional, relational or spiritual. Each consequence is like a blow impelling us to give up our hold on to that attachment – something akin to a villain’s blows on the hands of a hero hanging from a cliff.
A hero who holds on to the cliff despite the blows exhibits strong determination. Similarly, our holding on to an attachment even after undergoing consequences reflects an underlying determination. No doubt, there’s a big difference: for the cliffhanging hero, giving up the hold is disastrous, whereas for us, holding on is disastrous. Still, both activities reveal a capacity to hold on determinedly. The Bhagavad-gita (18.35) refers to such misdirected determination as determination in the mode of ignorance – it is the obstinacy by which we cling to the unhelpful, the unhealthy, the unwholesome.
Rather than moaning that we are so attached, we can instead take heart by meditating on the underlying capacity for determination that the attachment reflects. And we can strive to redirect that capacity for determination towards Krishna. If we can hold on diligently to even one form of devotional service, that spiritual connection will give us deeper wisdom and higher taste. Being thus empowered, we can break free from our ignorant determination and become increasingly connected with and propelled towards Krishna.
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