Why Can’t I Live up to my Ideals?

QUESTION: When we read something, we intellectually process it, and we understand it – but still we can’t act on it. Why not?

It takes time. First you get the food on a plate. Then you chew it. Then swallow. Then it digests. And eventually you get the nourishment and energy.

Similarly, first you hear knowledge – this is the “food” on the “plate.” Then you intellectually process it – this is the “chewing.” Once it is processed you can practice trying to apply it to life – this is the “digestion.” The more you digest it by trying to apply it in the real world, the more the theoretical knowledge your intellect chewed can become an actual part of the “energy and nutrition” that motivates and informs your actions.

Don’t expect that simply by hearing something your life will change. Don’t expect that simply by understanding something intellectually, it changes your life. These things – hearing and understanding – are important steps on the way to changing your life. Yet they have to be applied by sādhana, which is the practice of trying to apply them in the real world. Then, by that practice of application what you heard and comprehended becomes fully a part of who you are, and you can live it as a tangible reality.

Vraja Kishor das


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