The mind’s misdirection is not just mild but also wild
On the spiritual path, the mind misdirects us from our intended focus on Krishna to thousands of distractions. In fact, the mind distracts not just spiritual seekers but also anyone striving to focus on anything worthwhile. The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) characterizes the mind’s misdirection with four describers. The first is canchala (flickering) – restlessness typical of a child who may distract the parent from consequential things to trivial things. This distraction is mostly mild because the child is not malevolent.
But the mind can be malevolent – especially when it is dominated by impurities such as lust, greed and anger. Under their spell, the mind’s misdirection can degrade from mild to wild; it may come up with crazy dreams and schemes for quick enjoyment, without caring about their immorality or even perversity.
And if we have let mind’s mildness lull us into complacency, then the mind’s wildness can bulldoze our intelligence and conscience, and drag us into depravity that we would normally reject as reprehensible. Underscoring the potential monstrosity of the mind, the same Gita verse describes it as pramathi (maddening), balavad (strong) and drudham (obstinate).
How can we discipline the mind?
By steady practice of bhakti-yoga.
By meditating on Krishna’s greatness (“He is far stronger than the mind”) and kindness (“He loves me and will help me control the mind”), we can motivate ourselves to connect with Krishna internally through remembrance and externally through service. During the mind’s mild phases, if we stay diligently devoted to Krishna without lowering our guard, then that determined practice strengthens our inner spiritual muscles, empowering us to reign in the mind whenever it goes into its wild phases. And gradually the higher fulfillment coming from steady devotion purifies the mind of its malevolent impurities and transforms it into a benevolent companion on our march to transcendence.