Don’t give your mind to people whom you wouldn’t give your time
When somebody has hurt us grievously, we may decide to avoid them in future to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Even if they want to meet us, we may refuse, especially if they have shown no signs of remorse.
Though keeping a safe distance may be necessary to deal with difficult people, we need to know that this distance is not just physical but also mental. That is, we need to avoid thinking about them. Unfortunately however, we often keep thinking about them, resenting their actions, fueling our indignation and fanning our revenge fantasies. By thinking about them, we give them our mind. And where our mind is, that becomes the locus of our emotions. Thus, when we give our mind to those who have hurt us, we let them hurt us more. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.35) indicates that self-destructive mental tendencies such as fearfulness, moroseness and resentfulness characterize the mode of ignorance.
How can we avoid hurting ourselves?
By confronting ourselves with the self-probing question: “When, to avoid getting hurt, I am not ready to give them my time, then why am I giving them my mind and letting myself be hurt?” When we forcefully remind ourselves of our unwitting masochism, we get the determination to change the object of our thoughts.
To help us change our inner focus, the Gita offers us the process of bhakti-yoga. This time-tested process provides us various facilities for fixing our consciousness on the supreme transcendental reality, Krishna. If we practice bhakti-yoga regularly, our consciousness becomes habituated to rising from ignorance through passion and goodness, towards transcendence.
When we train ourselves to think of Krishna, we can avoid thinking of those who have hurt us, for we learn to focus on the One who can heal us of all hurts.
Think it over:
- What does giving our mind to someone mean?
- How does giving our mind to those who have hurt us, increase our hurt?
How does bhakti-yoga help us change the object of our thoughts?
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