Our mind is a madhouse, but we don’t have to be mad
In a mental health care center, not everyone is mad. The medical staff are sober and are meant to take care of the mentally sick. If the mad inmates aren’t monitored, they can wreak havoc in the madhouse.
Our mind is like a madhouse – in it are present various irrational desires and fears. Mad people suddenly go crazy, with the exact trigger often being untraceable, Similarly, some desires or fears suddenly arise within us, with the exact cause often being untraceable.
Significantly however, just because those desires or fears have arisen within us doesn’t mean that we have to act on them. We can monitor those desires, just as medical staff monitor the mentally infirm.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget that we are meant to be the medical staff, and we unwittingly join the ranks of the mad, and thus turn our mind into a madhouse. On being repeated victims of such misadventures, we may lose heart.
Nonetheless, even if our mind is a madhouse, we don’t have to be mad. Gita wisdom shows the way to preserve order in our inner world.
The Bhagavad-gita’s fourteenth chapter explains how the three modes of material nature trigger various desires and fears within the mind. To protect ourselves, we need to become observers of the mode-induced thoughts arriving and departing within us (14.22). We can distance ourselves from the modes’ instigations by contemplating that we are eternal spiritual beings, constitutionally beyond the modes (14.23).
The best way to situate ourselves spiritually is by practicing bhakti – steady bhakti practice takes us beyond the modes (14.26). How? Bhakti channels spiritually the power of our supreme emotion of love and provides access to Krishna’s supreme purificatory potency.
Thus, even when our mind turns into a madhouse, bhakti empowers us to stay sober.
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