Conviction is the fuel for our resolutions to fly from take-off to landing
We often make resolutions to conquer our lower passions such as selfishness, ego, greed, lust or anger. Most such resolutions for self-improvement often have a high mortality rate in the flight from conception to implementation. Why?
Often, the cause lies not in the flight, but in the takeoff. We frequently try to externalize our resolutions without internalizing them adequately. This means that we start attempting to do a thing externally without doing enough to convince ourselves internally why we should do it.
Usually, we start our internal journey for self-improvement because of an external stimulus: for example, hearing an electrifying talk, reading a stirring scriptural passage or having a moving interaction with a saint. Such an external stimulus may be enough to initiate our self-improvement journey. But to sustain the journey, we need the fuel of internal conviction. Unfortunately, while starting off, we neglect boosting our conviction adequately; we are too eager to take off. This unwarranted haste causes our resolution to run out of fuel in mid-air and crash to a premature death.
To prevent this, we need to adopt the inside-out approach to self-improvement recommended by Gita wisdom. The Bhagavad-gita (03.43) indicates that intellectual conviction developed by conscious deliberation is critical for self-conquest. When an external stimulus inspires us to make a resolution, before takeoff we can seriously contemplate and systematically note the rationale for the resolution: we are not material bodies but souls; material passions block us from relishing spiritual happiness; no one else can overcome those passions for us; if we have to conquer them sometime, then why delay?
Thereafter, whenever our conviction-fuel meter starts showing a low, we can replenish it by meditating on those contemplations. By such replenishment, our flight will safely reach the destination of self-mastery.
“Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Krishna consciousness] and thus – by spiritual strength – conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.”