Four Things I Swore Off Without Much Success

[Krishna's lotus feet]“The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.60)

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यततो ह्य् अपि कौन्तेय
पुरुषस्य विपश्चितः
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि
हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः

yatato hy api kaunteya
puruṣasya vipaścitaḥ
indriyāṇi pramāthīni
haranti prasabhaṁ manaḥ

1. Drinking

“Never again. I mean it this time. I don’t ever want to have this experience repeat in the future. Standing over the toilet bowl last night for hours was not fun. I would rather just vomit and be done with it. Why does the stomach have to hurt for so long?

“And what did I really gain? Short-term sensation. Some relaxing of the tensions brought on by daily responsibilities at home and at work. But as the t-shirt reads, I borrowed from tomorrow for happiness today. My head hurts so much right now. I can barely function. I have officially quit drinking. Did you hear me? I mean it this time.”

2. Owning a car

“I can’t believe we finally reached our destination. I thought we left at a reasonable time. A few hours prior to the evening rush, but the trip was insane. Traffic the entire journey. No letting up. What normally takes one hour was tripled in length. I’ve got one word for you: unacceptable.

“On top of that, the baby in the car was crying. I can’t blame her. Who wants to be strapped into a car seat for that long, with stop and go traffic? That was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. I think it is better to simply sell the car. I’ll take mass transit and ride-sharing to get around.”

3. Eating unhealthy

“You never really know how much you have let your physical wellbeing slide until you see a picture. Looking in the mirror is not enough. My God have things changed. There is that game on the internet called, “The Ten Year Challenge.” Basically, you take a picture of yourself today and compare it to one from ten years ago.

[cheese pizza]“Let me tell you that there is no contest. I failed miserably. I just can’t stop thinking about eating. Every time I am ready to give up unhealthy foods, at the next opportunity I don’t decline. I tell myself that I am taking a break. I will resume the diet in the future; start on Monday.”

4. Caffeine

“Okay, so last night was something I never want to repeat. I was so darn tired, but I couldn’t fall asleep. It’s because I had too much caffeine, especially after dinner. It was an obvious mistake, but somehow I couldn’t help it. After eating a large meal, I feel I need something to trigger digestion.

“If you can’t fall asleep on time, the pressure starts to mount. You wonder if you will ever fall asleep. You start to analyze the sleeping cycle itself, how the mind finally drifts away and the subtle body takes over. You know that you have to wake up in time for work, and if you don’t get enough sleep you will be unable to function the rest of the day.”

While we may have taken solemn vows in one or more of the aforementioned areas, success after the fact is difficult. Shri Krishna explains the reason in the Bhagavad-gita. The senses are a strong force, and they can overpower a person who is otherwise discriminating. This means that I can try my best at removing a particular attachment, but the odds are stacked against me.

There is a solution. Connection to the Divine consciousness. Be attached to something higher in order to relinquish something inferior. The benefits do not stop at the renunciation of sense attachment. That is to say the Divine consciousness itself is conducive to the highest happiness.

In the modern age the easiest way to develop such a consciousness is to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Using a mantra to give up bad habits? A routine in repeating and hearing a sound vibration to cure problems that the entirety of humanity struggles with?

[Krishna's lotus feet]Personal wellbeing should not be the impetus for devotion, but the solution is viable because of the person on the other side. The mantra references specific personalities, namely the source of the Divine energy. A regulated routine of repeating the mantra, under the guidance of someone who is already free from attachment to the sense objects, guarantees success. In addition, the attention to such conditions gradually diminishes. In other words, I will have a higher objective to correspond with the higher consciousness.

In Closing:

Over future behavior commanding,

Rather not over toilet standing.

So to drink no more,

Sobriety now in store.

But aftermath a different story,

Failure triumphing in all its glory.

Reason the senses difficult to overcome,

Through Krishna’s favor easily won.

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