How to get away from the mind when it troubles us?
When someone speaks negative things constantly, we may feel the need to get away from them. We may feel a similar need when our mind speaks negative thoughts incessantly.
However, we can’t easily get away from our mind because it is inside us. And more subtly and importantly, the mind is not just a source of thoughts; it is also a tool for thinking. To think how to get away from our mind, we need to think with that very mind. Thus, our situation is like that of someone who needs to both go away from a person and ask that very person’s help to go away.
How can we get the mind to help us in getting away from it? By doing two broad things:
Don’t negate the mind: If we never consider the mind’s likes or dislikes, it will feel choked inordinately. Though it may live with such repression for some time, it will eventually rebel, impelling us to move unrestrictedly toward the very thing from which we had wanted to move away.
Negotiate with the mind: We need to observe our mind to note its typical thought-patterns. Some, even many, of those thought-patterns will be unhealthy — they go against our values and purpose. But not all will be unhealthy; some will be in harmony with our values and purposes. When the mind is sourcing negative thoughts, we can negotiate with it to move our consciousness along one of these healthy thought-patterns.
Thus, negotiating is the doable and desirable balance between crushing the mind, which we can’t sustain, and caving in to the mind, which will leave us distressed and degraded. By such expert negotiation, we can elevate ourselves with our mind (Bhagavad-gita (06.05).
To get away from our mind, we need to seek a way from our mind — learn to negotiate with it, not negate it.
Think it over:
- Why is getting away from the mind difficult?
- What’s wrong with negating the mind?
- How can we negotiate with our mind?
10.37: One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.