Even if the mind is not shrill, it is still a shill

A shill is someone who enthusiastically pretends to buy something from a shop so as to allure others to also buy. Our mind is sometimes shrill and sometimes a shill. Here’s how.

When the mind is shrill, we sense something within us sharply goading, yelling, pushing us to do something shortsighted. A shrilling mind is difficult to resist, but at least it’s easy to notice, provided we are aware of the basic topography of our inner world. Once we recognize that the inner impelling voice is our mind, we can find appropriate measures to evaluate and regulate it.

However, the mind is often tougher to resist when it is difficult to notice because it acts subtly by becoming a shill. To understand how the mind works as a shill, let’s first note a basic truth about how we function: all things are done twice, first by our mind, then by us. That is, when we think about doing something, we create mental avatars of ourselves which do that thing in our inner world. And once we uncritically accept what those avatars are doing, we start doing it ourselves. Thus, for example, when we spend hours surfing the net randomly, it’s our mind that first surfs the net in our imagination and then we surf the net.

By being shrill or by being a shill, the mind acts as our enemy, as the Bhagavad-gita (06.06) cautions. By knowing how dangerous our mind can be, we can take more seriously the discipline of inner observation through spiritual studies and inner purification through spiritual practices. Once we become situated in our spiritual purpose of serving our Lord through all our activities, then we can more effectively get the mind to chill, both when it is shrill and when, a shill.

Think it over:

  • How is our mind shrill?
  • How is our mind a shill?
  • How can we discipline our mind?

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We are not masters in our own house, but we don’t have to be slaves
Stronger than what faces us is what graces us
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