We can’t undo, but we can rebuild

We can’t undo, but we can rebuild

There is a grim finality to life. Once a moment has passed, it has passed forever. Once an action has been done, it can’t be undone. Once an arrow of a hurtful word has been discharged from the bow of our tongue, it can’t be withdrawn.

This irreversibility extends to our inner life too. Our character is like an inner mansion on which resides our consciousness. The stronger our character, the higher our consciousness can rise. When we succumb to an immoral temptation, that indulgence creates in our consciousness an impression which will impel us to indulge again and again. Each such impression is like a hazardous fire-spark in a wooden mansion – it can burn down the moral substance of our character.

By contemplating the gravity of our actions, we can choose soberly. But sobriety can degenerate into negativity if we misconceive that nothing is changeable. A burnt mansion can’t be unburnt, but it can be rebuild. Similarly, harmful impressions can’t be erased, but they can be buried. By making morally healthy choices, we can overwrite our consciousness with positive impressions that will impel us towards uplifting actions.

The best positive impressions are spiritual impressions. When we practice yoga and get a taste for its ultimate goal, Krishna, the resulting spiritual impressions are formidable – they can’t be permanently buried by any material impressions that may be acquired if we relapse to materialism. Even if we turn away from Krishna, the Bhagavad-gita (06.43) indicates that our spiritual impressions surface again, either in this or a future life, restoring our lost spiritual taste.

Still, the material impressions will distract and will need to be overcome. That’s why far better than the laborious and hazardous path of building, burying and recovering is the path of careful building till we become elevated out of material existence.

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