The first me is practically never the best me
Some people ask, “We are often told to repress our impulses in the name of civilized behavior or spiritual standards. But doesn’t that mean we are faking? And if we are faking, who is the real me?”
Restraining our impulses is not necessarily faking – it can well be refining. In most fields, we implicitly understand that the first expression of a person is hardly ever their best expression. For example, in sports such as cricket, a batsman who effortlessly hits the ball to all corners of the stadium doesn’t bat that proficiently on picking the bat for the first time – they put in many hours and years of disciplined training. Which is the real batsman: the trained batsman or the raw batsman? The more pertinent question is: which batsman does the best justice to their talents?
We need to apply this same principle for doing justice to our spiritual potential. The Bhagavad-gita explains that the real me ultimately is the soul, who is a pure part of the all-pure supreme, Krishna. That is the real me we are meant to express. However, such authentic self-expression is often sabotaged by our mind, which frequently acts as our enemy (06.06). It makes us act impulsively, whereby we can’t do our best. If we want to stop under-selling ourselves, we need to cultivate self-restraint.
By restraining ourselves in spiritual life, we will be faking if we have no intention of bringing into our inner life the purity we exhibit in our outer life. However, if we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, that discipline purifies us by connecting with all-pure Krishna, thereby harmonizing our thoughts with our actions.
Thus, restraining our impulses and redirecting our heart towards Krishna stimulates an inner refining that brings out the best me, which is the actual me.
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