Our willingness is more important than our willpower
When we strive to lead a principle-centered life, but falter and fail, we may lament, “I don’t have willpower.”
Such feelings are natural and understandable. But they can be self-defeating if they make us believe that lack of willpower is something like a genetic defect – some people have willpower and some people don’t. Actually, willpower is not unchangeable like skin pigment color but is something changeable like muscles.
Undoubtedly, some people have more willpower; some, less. Still, despite such differences caused by past karma, we all have some willpower, just as everyone has some muscles. And more importantly, we all can have willingness. Willpower is the capacity to do a thing, whereas willingness is the desire to do it. If we are unwilling, even Krishna can’t help us. Though he can do anything, he respects our free will. So, he doesn’t impose himself on us if we don’t want him to. In contrast, if we are willing and strive to connect with him through prayerful remembrance, he empowers us by his omnipotence to overcome obstacles, as the Bhagavad-gita (18.58) assures.
Unfortunately, we often let our fear about our willpower deficiency steal our willingness – akin to a person who sees huge weights in a gym, becomes fearful and gives up all exercise. By such misdirected contemplation, we disempower ourselves.
Instead of sweating over principles that we fear we can’t follow, we can focus on ways in which we can joyfully absorb ourselves in remembrance of Krishna, for such remembrance is the most important principle. And from our willingness to cultivate such remembrance will emerge, by his mercy, the inner satisfaction and strength to resist temptations and boost our willpower.
By focusing on maintaining our willingness instead of fretting over our willpower deficiency, we can let Krishna’s magical mercy raise us above our limitations.
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