Our thoughts have no power on us till we give them our thought
The word ‘thought’ can refer to an idea popping up in our consciousness, as in “I got a thought.” Or it can refer to steady attention to a subject, as in “I have given this a lot of thought.”
Keeping these two meanings in mind, we can understand that our thoughts – the stimuli appearing within us – can’t have power on us till we give them our thought, that is, our attention. If some unwanted thought pops up within us, we don’t have to get worked up about its presence, leave alone get carried away by what it proposes.
How can we avoid giving unnecessary thought to unwanted thoughts? By objective vision and purposeful action.
First, we can view our thoughts objectively, like popups on our device. The Bhagavad-gita facilitates such objective vision by explaining that we are souls who exist at a spiritual level. Our body is like our device for functioning at the material level. And our mind is like that device’s screen, where various thoughts appear, being triggered by the modes of material nature (14.22). Just as a popup can’t take over our device unless we click on it, similarly, distracting thoughts can’t divert us unless we give them undue attention, thereby energizing and enlarging them.
Second, we can keep ourselves purposefully engaged. The Bhagavad-gita equips us with the most positive purpose by revealing that we are parts of the all-powerful, all-attractive supreme, Krishna. Gita wisdom helps us connect with Krishna in a mood of service and re-envision our entire life as a loving offering to him. The resulting connection gives us a sublime satisfaction that increases our immunity to distracting thoughts.
When we consistently neglect distracting thoughts, they gradually decrease and eventually disappear, freeing us to become steadily and joyfully absorbed in Krishna.
Think it over:
- What are the two senses of the word ‘thought’?
- How can we view our thoughts objectively?
- How does devotional purposefulness enable us to neglect distracting thoughts?
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