Mind your mind to know when it is in order, when on the border and when out of order

Suppose we use a device such as a laptop for vital, high-stake work. We would not only do the work carefully, but would also carefully monitor the device to check its functionality. 

The same principle applies all the more so to the device within us that is critical for everything we do. That device is our mind. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) states that we need to take responsibility to elevate ourselves with our mind and not degrade ourselves because our mind can be both our friend and our enemy. 

To observe our mind, we need to be mindful. Mindfulness can be said to center on checking three things:  

Is the mind in order? Just as a functioning device enables us to do what we want to do, an orderly mind enables us to have those thoughts, emotions and desires that enable us to pursue our values and purposes.  

Is the mind on the border? Just as a machine on the border doesn’t function properly, a mind on the border stutters and stumbles and bungles and lingers and meanders. It doesn’t outright militate against our purposes and values, but it does distract us. When the mind is on the border, we need to soon take time out for mind maintenance work: spiritual practices such as meditation and study of wisdom-texts. 

Is the mind out of order? Whereas an out-of-order machine usually just stops functioning, an out-of-order mind works against our values and purposes, making us our own worst enemy. We need to immediately do mind repair by focusing on spiritual activities that strengthen us. 

When we thus mind our mind, we learn to order our life in harmony with the source of the ultimate order, thereby relishing the supreme peace and joy. 

Think it over:

  • How can we know if our mind is in order?
  • If our mind is on the border, what do we need to do?
  • If our mind is out of order, how can we know? And what can we do?

***

03.21 One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

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