Observe your mental neighborhood just as you would observe your physical neighborhood
Suppose in a new neighborhood, we glance at a passerby with interest. They invite us to a hotel for a chat, and we go along. As soon as we come close to them, they pounce upon us, pin us down, and pummel and plunder us.
Such self-induced victimization happens frequently in our inner world, wherein exist many thug thoughts that strive to catch our attention. When we focus on them, our focus energizes them to grow into a desire, an intention and an action. By undiscerningly going along with them, we may indulge in self-defeating actions.
Usually, when we find ourselves in a new neighborhood, we check whether the people there are friendly or dangerous. In our physical neighborhood, we take such precautions naturally. But in our mental neighborhood, we frequently fail to take similar precautions because we think that everything inside me is me.
Such self-identification with our inner world is incorrect and imprudent. Gita wisdom explains that we are souls, who are different from not just our bodies but also our minds. Thus, thoughts in our mind are like people in our mental neighborhood. And this neighborhood often changes rapidly – our thoughts shift shape speedily, frequently without our effort or even awareness. If without evaluating such changes, we let ourselves be led by whatever thoughts we find in our mental neighborhood, we might unsuspectingly walk into danger.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (06.26) cautions that we use our intelligence to bring the mind back under control whenever and wherever it wanders. In terms of the thug analogy, this caveat implies that we don’t let our consciousness wander off with any stray thought found in our mental vicinity.
By thus staying watchful in our mental neighborhood, we can protect ourselves from self-sabotage and can act for our best interests.
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