When our repentant tears reform and when they don’t
We may shed tears of repentance when we have made some terrible mistake or acted in some grievously immoral way. Those tears can clean and heal, but not always.
If those tears arise primarily because we are distressed by the consequences of our actions such as the destruction of reputation, then those tears may well be coming from our ego. Those tears may be genuine, but they won’t lead to a genuine transformation. Why? Because we are not desiring inner transformation of our character, but only outer transformation of consequences.
Our heart needs to recognize why that act is intrinsically wrong, not just extrinsically wrong because of the consequences. Yes, fear of consequences can strongly deter us from nonchalantly repeating those actions. But if we feel that we can become smart enough to do those actions again without bearing the consequences, then we will re-indulge.
Different are the tears coming from the heart, wherein we understand that we are spiritual beings, parts of the all-pure whole, Krishna (15.07). We are meant for not just doing better things, but becoming better beings and that we have a dormant divinity within us which can be unleashed by divine grace. We need to understand that indulgence deprives us of our spirituality, even if the consequences are trivial. Once our tears arise from repentance that we have disconnected ourselves from Krishna and have defied and dishonored him, then that repentance will actually lead to transformation and elevate us to transcendence
When we appreciate that the wrongdoing itself is a violence to ourselves and to our potentials and our Lord, then the tears that come from that well of genuine regret, will help us become well.
All tears are not the same — the well they come from determines how much they help us become well.
Think it over:
Which tears don’t transform us? Why?
Which tears will transform us? Why?
Consider some wrong that you are prone to. Do you regret that wrong or just its consequences?