Our mind is influential, but it is also influenceable
Our mind has an enormous influence on us – when we are thinking of one thing, it can take our thoughts in an entirely different direction, even totally opposite direction. For example, it can change our thoughts from pure to impure in just one moment.
In the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna underscores the mind’s fearsome power by comparing the mind to a raging wind (06.34). And Krishna acknowledges Arjuna’s assessment (06.35).
To better understand how the mind influences us, let’s compare it to a powerful software program that integrates the inputs coming from our various senses and displays them for us souls to process. However, just as a program infected by viruses malfunctions, so too does the mind infected by attachments. An attached mind obsesses over particular inputs from particular senses while neglecting other important inputs. Thus, a mind infected by alcoholism thinks only of the pleasure of drinking and not the danger of drunken driving.
We can’t avoid the mind’s influence on us, but we can change the kind of influence it has on us. How? By changing what influences it, for it is also influenceable. What influences the mind? Its experiences. The mind’s past experiences have shaped its conceptions of happiness, which determine how it influences us. If we can get it to experience a higher happiness that differs from its current conceptions of happiness, it becomes positively influenced.
The best way to influence the mind positively is by bhakti-yoga practice, for such practice connects us with the reservoir of happiness, Krishna. That fulfilling connection gradually helps the mind understand that absorption in Krishna is more relishable than the most enjoyable worldly object. The Bhagavad-gita (07.01) confirms that bhakti-yoga practice makes the mind attached to Krishna.
A divinely attached mind becomes our friend, influencing us positively instead of negatively.
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