See the mind as a predator, not a protector

Suppose a farmer has a guard dog. But if that dog turns into a predator who devours the farm poultry, the farmer would be in big trouble indeed.

Similar is our predicament with our mind. It is the route through which stimuli from the outer world come to us (Bhagavad-gita 15.09). It is meant to act as a protector that keeps harmful stimuli outside while taking in and retaining helpful stimuli.

Unfortunately, the mind’s filtering function gets distorted, even inverted, by the attachments stored in it. Under the spell of those attachments, it welcomes stimuli connected to them even when those stimuli are distracting, degrading or destructive. For example, an alcoholic’s mind sucks in stimuli connected with drinking. Once those stimuli penetrate and dominate the consciousness, they impel the alcoholic to re-indulge.

When the mind changes from a protector to a predator, we frequently fail to notice the change. Why? Because the mind is inside us – due to its intimate location, we tend to trust it unquestioningly. Betraying our trust, the predatory mind destroys our intelligence and conscience, thereafter making us do actions that destroy our dignity, morality and spirituality.

Alerting us to the mind’s two-faced nature, the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) stresses that the onus is on us to elevate ourselves with it and not degrade ourselves. Moreover, the Gita provides us the process of bhakti-yoga to invoke within us the presence of someone stronger than the mind: Krishna. To the extent we become attuned to his presence, we get the higher purpose and pleasure that increase our immunity to the mind’s propositions.

When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, that consistent connection with Krishna purifies the mind. And the pure mind becomes our friend – it blocks worldly stimuli and welcomes devotional stimuli, thus helping us become joyfully absorbed in our all-attractive Lord.

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Think it over:

  1. What is the attachment that distorts your mind’s filter most frequently?
  2. When was the last time your mind misled you? How long did it take before you realized that the mind had misled you? What prompted that realization?
  3. How can you use the Gita to alert yourself the next time your mind starts distorting your perception?
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