In mind management, find the balance between laxity and stringency through maturity
When our child acts mischievously, we can empathize if we remember how we too were restless at that age. Still, if they start doing something dangerous, we would show zero tolerance. By being lax, we might end up doing violence to them.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) deems the mind restless, a describer often used for children. In dealing with such a mind, our intelligence has to become like a mature parent and treat it with empathy but not laxity.
While managing the mind, we need maturity. Just as we can’t expect the child to give up restlessness overnight, we can’t expect the mind to change its ways overnight. Whenever and wherever the mind wanders, the Gita (06.26) urges us to restrain it and re-focus it on spiritual reality. By thus acknowledging that the mind of even spiritual seekers will wander, this verse cautions us to not expect unrealistically that it will stop wandering immediately or completely.
Simultaneously, we need to avoid laxity, lest we give the mind free rein for its sinful, self-destructive fantasizing. As the thought is the ancestor to the deed, best to stringently restrain such dangerous mental wandering.
With maturity and without laxity, we need to diligently keep the mind within an acceptable perimeter of thought. By not expecting overnight changes while not allowing dangerous flights, we can keep the mind under regulation and engage it in purification through the practice of bhakti-yoga.
When we thus focus it consistently on the highest spiritual reality, Krishna, it gradually grows up. For the mind, growing up means accepting the twin truths that its restlessness doesn’t lead to anything really enjoyable and that calmly focusing on Krishna provides far greater fulfillment. When the mind thus matures, the Gita (06.06) indicates that it becomes our friend.
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