Perceive the mind to better perceive Krishna
If we are walking through marshy land, the marsh can make us slip if we are not watchful. In our journey towards Krishna, our mind frequently acts like a marsh. By alluring us with various worldly pleasures, it sucks us into countless distractions.
In our spiritual journey, we can progress smoothly by focusing on Krishna because absorption in him automatically protects us from the mind. Such absorption grants higher fulfillment, thus reducing the appeal of the mind’s proposals, even making them unappealing as we become purified.
However, we may misinfer from this devotional fulfillment and the resulting decreased temptation that we are no longer in danger. And if we let this misinference make us lax in remembering Krishna, the ever-present mind promptly springs into action for distracting and degrading us. So, to avoid being unwittingly distracted, we need to keep an eye on the mind. Unlike marshy terrain that is usually not so difficult to perceive, the mind is often difficult to perceive. The Bhagavad-gita (07.04) indicates that the mind is one of the eight elements that comprise Krishna’s material energy. In this list that progresses from gross elements to subtle elements, the mind is sixth – being a subtle material element, it is not perceivable by our senses.
Nonetheless, we can understand through introspection that there exists within us something that frequently impels us towards unproductive or even counterproductive behavior. When we complement such introspection with Gita wisdom, we can identify the mysterious inner deluder to be the mind.
While perceiving the mind, a note of caution is warranted. We don’t need to be mind-conscious, worrying constantly how it may trip us next – we want to become purified, not paranoid. We can use our awareness of the mind’s hazardous presence to reinforce our focus on Krishna, thus safely and swiftly progressing towards him.