Focus on life, not on the mind’s commentary about life
Suppose a cricket match is accompanied by a special kind of commentary that is heard not just by the spectators, but also by the players.
Suppose further that the commentator is biased and gives a negative spin to everything the batsman does. Suppose the batsman is batting well, gallantly and expertly leading the team’s recovery after a sudden batting collapse. But the commentator labels the batsman’s performance as a mere fluke, as a stroke of luck that is soon going to run out, leading to the batting team’s inevitable defeat.
If the batsman hears such commentary uncritically, they will become disheartened. They may even play a poor shot and get out. To bat properly, they need to focus on the match, not on the commentary.
Similarly, our life is like a cricket match, wherein we are like the batsman and our mind is like the commentator. The mind comments negatively on whatever we do, even when we are acting constructively and are doing reasonably well. If we listen uncritically to the mind’s commentary, we will become disheartened and give up. We need to neglect the mind’s commentary and focus on life: on how things actually are and how we can best respond.
However, because the mind is inside us, it’s difficult to neglect. Thankfully, inside us is also our Lord and guide, Krishna. When we connect devotionally with him, we start becoming increasingly calm, realizing that he is in ultimate control of things and will bring good out of life’s lows, provided we just keep doing our part. This conviction stabilizes us, decreasing our vulnerability to the mind whenever it exaggerates life’s inevitable negative phases (Bhagavad-gita 06.07). Moreover, that connection increases our inner positivity, thereby gradually silencing the mind’s negative commentary and energizing us to create a better life.
Think it over:
- Explain with an example how the mind’s commentary distorts reality.
- How can we deal with the mind’s negative commentary?
- Typically, what kind of negative commentaries does your mind give? Give those typical commentaries names so that you can identify them before they mislead you.
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