The mind’s spells make our life a waking nightmare

Suppose we have a nightmare in which someone is strangling us. We try desperately to resist, but find ourselves being increasingly asphyxiated. Just as we are about to give up, we wake up and find that we had placed a huge pillow on ourselves. We would immediately throw away the pillow and take deep breaths to regain our balance.

We may experience a similar nightmare when we come under the spell of our mind. The Bhagavad-gita (06.06) warns that the mind can act as our worst enemy. By casting a spell on us, it makes us do self-defeating things, akin to smothering ourselves. The mind’s spell makes us believe that we need certain things, and need them more than our very life, when we don’t need them at all.

For example, the mind can make an alcoholic feel that they need alcohol when what they need is to give it up. Though their past drinking has aggravated their problems, the mind makes them believe that the next bottle will solve their problems.

Another example is of morbidly obese people: their mind makes them overeat, and overeat to the point of bursting. They undergo stomach pain, social embarrassment and medical complications, yet the mind induces them to binge repeatedly.

To resist the mind’s spells, we need to train ourselves in conscious and conscientious self-awareness. We can become aware of who we are – eternal souls, parts of Krishna – by studying Gita wisdom and practicing bhakti-yoga regularly. Such practice activates our intelligence and grants us experience of higher spiritual fulfillment. Thus, we realize that in the name of worldly indulgence we are essentially smothering ourselves.

On the foundation of spiritual intelligence and experience, if we cultivate self-awareness, we can recover quickly from the mind’s spells. Gradually, spiritual awareness immunizes us to its spells.

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