How we become both villains and victims …

Typical movies have two characters: one who acts in villainous ways and one who is victimized by those villainous actions. But suppose a movie featured the same character being both villain and victim — that would be intriguing.  

But it would be shocking, even alarming, if we came to know that the person in question was none other than the person we see when we look in a mirror. How do we act like this? When we fall prey to unhealthy temptations, we do actions that hurt, exploit or even objectify others — thus, we act like villains. Simultaneously, these very actions when repeated become such strong conditionings that they enslave us, dragging us away from the things we value — thus, we end up victims.

Usually, in movies, if someone is both the villain and the victim, it’s likely that they are being misled by some behind the screen mega-villain. That’s certainly the case with us, and the mega-villain in our life’s horror movie is our own mind. It is present inside us, and from there, it acts invisibly and insidiously. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita cautions that our mind can be our worst enemy (06.06).

How can we prevent our life from becoming such a dark movie? By self-awareness and inner strength. When we study wisdom-texts like the Gita and use them to guide our introspection, we become increasingly aware of how our mind is misleading us, thereby getting the impetus to restrain the mind. And when we engage in empowering spiritual practices such as meditation, we gain the inner strength to not just restrain our mind but also reform it. 

One-sentence summary: 

If we let our mind control us, it can make our life into a horror movie in which we become both villains and victims.   

Think it over:

  • In your life, have you ever felt like a villain? Or like a victim? 
  • Note those incidents to sense how your mind’s impelling brought you into those situations. 
  • How can we stop our life from being a horror movie? 

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06.06: For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

Author: Chaitanya Charan

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