How the mind is a robber who pretends to be a well-wisher
Suppose a robber comes to our house pretending to be our well-wisher and tells us that our car which we had parked on a nearby street is being robbed. Alarmed, we rush out to stop the robbery, but the car is already gone. When we return, we find that we had left our house open and the so-called well-wisher has robbed our house clean.
Our mind is such a robber who claims to be our well-wisher. Suppose things go wrong in our life partially due to some poor choices from our past. Faced with such reversals, our mind starts hyperventilating, dragging our thoughts to the past to all the things that we might have done differently or to the future to all the things that might go wrong. While we are thus consumed with regrets about the past and fears about the future, our mind steals away from us our actual treasure: our time, specifically, the present moment. If we are to do anything constructive, the present is all that we have and all that we will ever have — and our mind steals it away from us by diverting us toward the past or the future. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.35) urges us to stay away from ignorant thought-patterns filled with fear, lamentation and moroseness.
How can we protect ourselves from being robbed by our mind? By forewarning and focus. By studying Gita wisdom regularly, we can stay cautious, knowing that our mind is ever ready to distract us. And by daily spiritual practices such as meditation, we can train ourselves to pin our attention on the present to do the best we can with it.
When our mind laments about the unchangeable past or worries about the uncontrollable future, it is distracting us to steal from us the present that is the only thing we can shape.
Think it over:
- How does the mind divert us?
- How does our mind rob us?
- How can we avoid being deceived by our mind?
18.35: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.