10.10: Fidelity, Flexibility, Felicity.
Living according to traditional spiritual culture in our contemporary material surroundings comprises an ever-present challenge for us as aspiring devotees: how much do we stick to the tradition and how much do we adapt to our surroundings?
To address this challenge, we need to tread the fine line that balances fidelity and flexibility. We connect with the tradition through fidelity, our faithfulness to its essential and inviolable principles. We connect with our surroundings through our flexibility, our readiness to adapt to the exigencies and opportunities of our surroundings.
For us, treading on the fine line that balances fidelity and flexibility may seem like walking on a tightrope, a tense and ticklish endeavor at best. We can seek inspiration from advanced spiritual preceptors who walk across the tightrope with ease and grace.
How do they discover the balance between fidelity and flexibility with such felicity?
By their sincerity.
They realize that the essence of spirituality lies not just in fidelity and flexibility, but in the inner connectivity with Krishna. They refine their Krishna-connectivity by fidelity to the principles and practices provided by the tradition. But they know that this Krishna-connection is to be lived not in just in the memory of the past, but in dynamics of the present. So they see their surroundings as an opportunity to live in the light of that inner connection, and to also share that light with the world. Their inner connection with Krishna enables them to receive his guidance, as is promised in the Gita (10.10), about how best to integrate flexibility into their devotional repertoire.
By learning from their example and focusing on the principle of sincerity, we will over time be similarly guided by Krishna to bring the corollary principles of fidelity and flexibility into a joyful harmony.