The mind may replay, but we don’t have to play
Sometimes some nasty images come in our mind and make us feel appalled at ourselves: “What kind of devotee am I to be thinking such things? Is there any point to my practice of bhakti?” Yes, there is – the point is that our bhakti practice has enabled us to recognize the images as an unwelcome impurity, not as a welcome opportunity for a free show in our mental studio.
The mind is like a software program that records and replays especially those things that have excited some emotion within us. So, in response to our default search for pleasure, the mind periodically replays the impressions of the things we enjoyed in our pre-devotional life.
By thus triggering the replay of a Krishna-centered impression, we can squelch the undesirable replay.
We may not be able to control the occurrence of these replays, but we can control our response to them. We can play the replay, that is, let it go on uninterrupted. Or, worse still, we can play with it, that is, delight in the passions induced by it. When we play thus, the mental degenerates into the physical, causing us to relapse.
But we don’t have to play with or even play the replay. If we don’t become emotionally engaged in it, the replay will soon run out of steam and stop. Better still, we can assertively redirect our attention and emotion towards some devotionally potent stimulus such as a scriptural verse, the holy name or the Deity. By thus triggering the replay of a Krishna-centered impression, we can squelch the undesirable replay. Such devotional replays will come more quickly if we have practiced bhakti intensely and created an arsenal of fulfilling spiritual impressions.
Pertinently the Bhagavad-gita (06.35) assures that we can discipline the mind with indifference (vairagya) and diligence (abhyasa): indifference towards undesirable mental replays, and diligence in cultivating desirable devotional impressions.
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