Are we the fisherman or the fish? (Managing the mind 2)
Suppose a fisherman casts a bait in a river to catch a fish. The fisherman stands to profit and the fish stands to lose its life. Yet the fish believes it is about to gain some good food, till it gets trapped.
Whenever we pursue sensual pleasure, we usually do so because of our mind’s promptings. It fills us with sensual fantasies, making us believe that we are like the fisherman about to get something enjoyable. Scarily however, the same mind makes us behave like a fish. Here’s how.
When some enjoyable sense object catches our attention, we get drawn toward it with increasing force. While we are trying to capture it, it is capturing our attention till we can think of nothing else. As that craving becomes unbearable, we feel that we can’t live without getting it. And we seek it, without caring much for the cost.
Consider how a young college student gets into drugs. They may try out a drug just for some fun, but as they get hooked to the quick relief, they may become increasingly dependent on it till they end up addicted. When they started off, they thought they were the fisherman seeking a new fish, but they ended up as the fish hooked to the bait. Underscoring how deceptive the mind can be, the Bhagavad-gita (06.06) warns that it can be our worst enemy.
How can we protect ourselves? By refusing to readily believe that something is worth pursuing just because our mind says it is. Instead, we can use our intelligence to determine and dwell on our long-term interests, and then evaluate whether our mind’s proposition is worth pursuing.
The mind makes us believe that we are like a fisherman while it makes us behave like a fish.
Think it over:
- How does the mind make us believe that we are a fisherman?
- How does the mind make us behave like a fish?
- Have you ever experienced the mind’s deceptiveness? What can you learn from it?
06.06: For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.
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Explanation of article: