Swami Yatiswarananda: “One way is to control them using will power. Another is to cultivate the witness attitude towards them. Neither of these is easy and, in the beginning of one’s spiritual life, well nigh impossible. What then is the way for a spiritual aspirant? He should connect them all, directly or indirectly, with the Divine. Every desire, every sensual impulse, every passion, must be given a Godward turn consciously and knowingly, with an effort of the will. If his artistic sense and his desire to enjoy art are very strong, he should take up some holy form of art and make that a stepping stone for rising to the plane of the Divine. Instead of listening to worldly music, let him listen to devotional music instead of singing for other people, sing for the sake of the Divine and so on.
“If he is very fond of the sweet fragrance and beauty of flowers and wishes to enjoy them, let him (pick) flowers, offer them to the Divine and decorate with them, the holy altar artistically. If he desires to love somebody or feels greatly attracted towards somebody, let him love the Divine in that person and be thereby directly drawn towards the Divine.
“If done consciously and knowingly, all these act as a great controlling factor, as a great regulating agency, helping us in sublimating our desires, in giving them a higher turn and in attaining greater purity. but even here the ultimate goal to be attained by the aspirant is perfect control of mind and realisation of God. Everything else serves only as a stepping stone to that. Following the graded path, we must be able to rise to the highest stage of pure spiritual love sooner or later.
“The Godward turn must be given to our relationships with all external objects.”
Source: pgs. 255-256, Meditation and Spiritual Life.