The more our consciousness is crowded, the more our conscience becomes clouded
Suppose we are walking through a crowded place where people are pushing each other. In that crush, if a pickpocket reaches into our purse and steals our money, we may not even notice it.
When we have too much to process, we get distracted from processing the things that matter the most. This principle applies to our inner world too. If our consciousness is crowded with too many stimuli, we can’t discern which stimuli are important and which less important. Our faculty to discern is our conscience. Even if our conscience is developed, it can’t function well if we aren’t conscious.
When our conscience becomes sluggish, our pleasure-seeking tendency makes us gravitate toward enjoyable stimuli, especially those that aren’t overtly objectionable. On getting some pleasure, we seek more enjoyable stimuli and end up doing immoral things that we would normally never do. The Bhagavad-gita cautions that when our consciousness becomes crowded, we get deluded and degraded, eventually making our life hellish (16.16).
How can we decrease the crowding of our consciousness? Some crowding is unavoidable because the world we live in is complex, but we can minimize it by simplifying our life. Simplicity doesn’t mean poverty; it means not burdening ourselves with unimportant choices. Suppose we go through fifty clothes each morning to decide what to wear. Or suppose we spend time daily figuring out when to sleep and when to wake up — and then worry whether we are sleeping too much or too little. Aren’t we burdening our minds unnecessarily?
By limiting inconsequential options and standardizing daily choices, we can simplify our life. And if we use simplicity to focus on developing our spiritual connection with the all-pure divine, that connection will purge impure stimuli from our consciousness.
When we thus simplify and spiritualize our life, our consciousness becomes clearer, our conscience becomes sharper and our choices become wiser.
Think it over:
- Recollect any occasion when a crowded consciousness clouded your conscience.
- How can simplifying our life strengthen our conscience?
- List three ways you can simplify your life.
16.16 Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and fall down into hell.
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