How our mind can be a double agent

Suppose a country’s intelligence agency needs to do a vital mission for which they need a particular spy. Suppose further they suspect that spy to be a double agent, who is spying not just for them, but also for the hostile country to be spied on. Because that agent is irreplaceable, the agency needs to work with them; because that agent is unreliable, the agency needs to work with constant vigilance. 

For us, our mind is similarly both indispensable and unreliable — it can be a double agent. Functionally, we need the mind because it is the essential link between us spiritual beings and our material bodies. Put metaphorically, the mind acts as the key that opens the doors of our senses by which we gain access to the outer world. 

But simultaneously the mind gives the world’s stimuli access to our consciousness. Some of those stimuli, especially tempting or agitating ones, may sneak in through the mind. If we contemplate on such stimuli, the resulting impressions will become strongly rooted inside us, thereby distracting us forcefully. Indeed, the mind can become the means by which the world places its latch on our consciousness, entrapping us in particular compulsive or destructive behaviors. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) cautions that our mind can be both our friend and our enemy.

How can we ensure that our mind serves our interests? By constant vigilance. We need to regularly remind ourselves which things are important for us and why. Then we will be better prepared to channel our mind toward the things that matter and check it when it wanders toward other things . 

One-sentence summary: 

Our mind can be our key to the world or it can be the world’s latch on us — be alert to ensure that our mind works for us, not against us. 

Think it over:

  • How is our mind like a double agent?
  • In what ways does your mind tend to become the world’s latch on you?
  • How can we ensure that our mind works for us, not against us?


06.05: 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.


Author: Chaitanya Charan

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