How to get the mind to go along with us?
We sometimes resolve to do certain things that are important for us. But our mind stubbornly refuses to go along. Anticipating our predicament, the Bhagavad-gita (06.34) warns that the mind can be stubborn. What can we do at such times?
The next verse (06.35) recommends practice and detachment. In the context of managing the mind, practice can refer to trying out various approaches to see which one works for us. And detachment can refer to letting go of those approaches that don’t work.
Suppose we resolve to read the Bhagavad-gita. But when we start reading, our mind objects raucously. If we push on, sometimes the mind calms down. But sometimes it doesn’t. Its inner noise prevents us from concentrating on what we are reading. Even if we somehow push on, we may find such reading neither illuminating nor nourishing, just exhausting and frustrating. At such times, we need to find some way ahead that is both likeable for our mind and beneficial for us.
Maybe our mind likes music; then we can hear a musical recitation or reading of the Gita. Maybe our mind likes the sound of our own voice reading gently; then we can read the Gita aloud instead of in our mind. Maybe our mind likes a particular section of the Gita; then we can shift to that section temporarily. Maybe our mind likes to go for a walk in nature; then we can hear an audiobook of the Gita while going for a walk.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.05) recommends such inner ingenuity when it urges us to elevate ourselves with our mind — not without our mind.
To get the mind to go along with you, find a way that is both likeable for the mind and beneficial for you.
Think it over:
- Recollect the last time you pushed on even when your mind was objecting. What happened?
- List three areas where your mind’s likes and your soul’s interests intersect.
- How can you leverage these areas to get your mind to go along with you?
06.34: The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.