Mentally junk the mental junk

In today’s hi-tech age of planned brand obsolescence, yesterday’s glamorous gadgets often become little more that junk today. Over time, we often end up with a lot of junk without even realizing it.

Just as we accumulate physical junk unknowingly, we also accumulate mental junk unknowingly. Such junk usually comprises sensually titillating impressions drawn from outer perceptions. The Bhagavad-gita (15.09) indicates that the mind is the reservoir where inputs from the various senses are stored.

However, instead of recognizing such impressions to be junk, the mind often treasures them. It takes our consciousness back to them again and again. Thus, it fuels sensual desires within us and impels us towards indulgences that often work against our best interests. By studying the Gita, we start understanding that such impressions are junk.

Of course, mental junk is not as easy to dispose as physical junk. Physical trash can just be swept out, but mental trash needs a more sophisticated strategy: not sweeping out, but crowding out. Consciousness by its very nature has to be conscious. So, we can’t just become unconscious of something, even if it is undesirable – we need to absorb our consciousness in something else so that we become oblivious to the undesirable thing. The best object for absorption is Krishna. He is all-attractive and all-pure, so Krishna-thoughts bring satisfaction and purification.

Initially, because our mind is attached to the mental junk, we need to junk the junk intellectually. That is, we need to use our intelligence to recognize which inner impressions comprise junk and redirect our thoughts away from them towards higher things.

Thankfully, when we cleanse ourselves consistently by practicing bhakti diligently, the mind becomes purified. Over time, it starts junking the mental junk of its own volition. When our mind thus accepts the impure to be impure, our spiritual life becomes secure.

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