Our resoluteness rests on the readiness of our answer to the mind’s “Why not?”
When we make resolutions to stop doing something negative, we often relapse. Why is that? Because we usually don’t have a ready answer to the mind’s resolution-sabotaging question: “Why not enjoy – what’s wrong with indulging a bit?”
We certainly have our reasons for abstinence, but these reasons aren’t always readily accessible when the mind raises its objection. These reasons are our weapons in the war against temptation. A soldier may have the best weapons, but if those weapons are in the tent, they can’t help if the soldier is attacked elsewhere. Seasoned soldiers always keep their weapons with them, especially when they are anywhere near the battle zone. In the war against temptation, the whole material world is the battle zone – temptation may attack us anytime, anywhere, anyway. So, we need to keep our reasons ready with us, always.
As our reasons for abstinence are internal, we carry them primarily through our remembrance. To sharpen our remembrance, we need to regularly hear wisdom-texts such as the Bhagavad-gita. Still, our memory tends to be fickle and fallible, especially when remembering insights that run contrary to our default desires. So, we can’t bank on our memory alone – we often need to also keep our reasons externally accessible, using, say, flash cards or pocket diaries, or their digital equivalents.
Ultimately, what protects us from temptation is not just our intelligence, but our absorption in Krishna. Still, when temptation attacks, it is often our intelligence that reminds us to seek Krishna’s shelter. Pertinently, the Gita (02.63) cautions that if we lose our intelligence, we lose ourselves – if we find no intelligent reason to resist temptation, we relapse.
When we keep ready our answers to the mind’s “Why not?” we get the resoluteness to resist temptation and persevere towards higher satisfaction.
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