When fighting temptation, focus just on surviving the present battle, not on winning the whole war

Suppose we were to fight a boxing match against a formidable opponent. Suppose further, before and during the fight, an acquaintance discouraged us repeatedly, “This opponent is too tough – he will keep coming back at you. How long can you keep fighting? Better give up now.” If we keep hearing their voice submissively, uncritically, incessantly, we will end up getting so discouraged as to quit even if we weren’t defeated and weren’t even likely to be defeated.

We all have to fight an inner war against temptation. In that war, our mind is like a discouraging inner voice that keeps making our opponent seem bigger and tougher than what it actually is. Thus, the mind acts as our enemy (Bhagavad-gita 06.06). When we are confronted with some temptation and try to resist it, the mind discourages us by declaring that the temptation will keep tormenting us for the rest of our life and that we will have no respite from temptation unless we give in to it. However, because the mind is inside us, we don’t realize that it is different from us and, most importantly, its monologue diverges significantly from reality.

How does it diverge from reality? The war with temptation is not one never-ending struggle, but is a series of temporary battles, with each battle being like a round in a match. Who wins each round matters, but what matters even more is who keeps fighting till the end and wins when it matters the most.

If we keep resisting temptation, over time, it grows weaker and we grow stronger. And if we simultaneously absorb ourselves in the supreme transcendence, Krishna, we increase our probability of winning.

By the combined power of resistance and transcendence, we can gradually overcome all temptations.

Think it over:

  • In our war against temptation, how does the mind act like our enemy?
  • How does the mind’s depiction of the inner war diverge from reality?
  • In your inner war, how can you better use the twin weapons of resistance and transcendence?

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Don’t let the craving for clarity distract us from working with whatever clarity we have
We can’t avoid being pushed by time, but we can choose where we are pushed by time
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