The mind changes the surface we are playing on – beware
In cricket, the playing strategy depends a lot on the nature of the playing surface. For example, some pitches are ideal for aggressive batting, while others require defensive batting. And the pitches too change over time. The same surface that is a batsman’s dream one day may become a batsman’s nightmare the next day. Seasoned batsmen quickly recognize the nature of the pitch they are playing on and adapt their game accordingly.
If we compare life to a game of cricket, our own mind is the pitch on which we play this game. On some days, the mind is calm and cooperative and even creative; it’s like a pitch conducive for batting; on those days, we can get a lot done and done well. Onsome other days, the mind is sullen or depressed or lethargic and we have to struggle to muster the energy to just get out of bed – on these days, the mind is a like a pitch where the batsman have to struggle even to survive.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) underscores the mind’s fickleness by labeling it as restless. For learning to live with the mind and for functioning with the mind, we need to recognize its mood and adapt ourselves accordingly. A batsman struggling to survive on a bad pitch is not necessarily a bad batsman and a batsman hitting an array of a strokes on a good pitch is not necessarily a great batsman. Similarly, just because one day we can’t get anything done doesn’t make us a bad person and just because another day we can get phenomenal amount of work done doesn’t make us a great person. Just as the batsman is different from the pitch, so too are we different from the mind. The Bhagavad-gita (14.23) urges us to recognize the fluctuations of the mind as coming from the modes of material nature and to stay situated in our transcendental identity as souls.
Just as a batsman’s mettle is tested and demonstrated by how they perform on a variety of pitches, so too is our spiritual mettle tested and demonstrated by how we persevere and perform during the various moods our mind goes through.
Rather than despairing when we find our mind obdurate and exulting when we find our mind cooperative, we can strive to stay fixed in the purificatory process of bhakti which will attract Krishna’s mercy and he will transform our mind, making it our friend forever.
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