18.33-35: Gita insights for New Year resolutions
The Bhagavad-gita (18.33-35) describes resolution or determination in the three modes of nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. The modes comprise subtle cosmological forces that exert psychological influences on us, thereby impelling us toward certain kinds of action.
When our determination is impelled by the mode of ignorance, the force of destruction dissipates the resolutions even before they materialize. Thus our resolutions remain little more than daydreams.
When our determination is impelled by the mode of passion, the force of creation energizes us to change our externals, but runs out of steam when faced with the internal change necessary to sustain the external change. This makes the change and even the resolution for the change short-lived.
When our determination is impelled by the mode of goodness, the force of sustenance empowers us for inside-out change; it enables us to gain self-mastery and become more mature, responsible and principle-driven human beings. Our internal improvement then kindles external improvement subtly, smoothly and sustainably. What makes this kind of determination unbreakable and inexhaustible is the practice of yoga that enables us to draw strength from the Infinite. The yoga that most easily and effectively connects us with the Supreme is the yoga of devotion, bhakti-yoga.
That’s why our resolution to stick to regular yoga practice underlies our ability to stick to all our other resolutions.