To take the task of training the mind seriously, stop taking everything it says seriously

Suppose we have a child. If we take the responsibility of caring for and training the child seriously, we won’t take everything the child says seriously. Sometimes the child comes up with frivolous ideas that need to be neglected. 

We need to train our mind similarly. The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) states that the mind is restless, which is the characteristic of children. The mind comes up with many crazy ideas, craving for something unnecessary or carping about something unchangeable. 

The more attention we give to the mind, the stronger its demands become – just as a child increases his antics when they are noticed. Of course, if the child is neglected, he may initially become more wild. But that won’t go on forever; eventually, he will become silent. Similarly, if we neglect the mind’s craving or complaining, it may initially become more demanding; its whimpers might become screams. But after some time they will die out; we just need to outwait it. 

Should we never take anything the mind says seriously? Not exactly; we need to evaluate the mind’s ideas intelligently. 

A child can have genuine needs, not just unnecessary cravings, or genuine problems, not just pointless complaints. So too can the mind. These need to be attended to. The Bhagavad-gita (06.05) urges us to elevate ourselves with our mind and not degrade ourselves. That means when the mind comes up with something constructive, we use it to elevate ourselves. Though we may occasionally err by neglecting the mind totally, we more frequently err on the other extreme: taking the mind’s ideas too seriously. 

If we strengthen our intelligence by studying the Gita and becoming spiritually grounded by practicing bhakti-yoga to connect with the omnipotent supreme, we can train our mind judiciously. 

Think it over:

  • Why do we need to stop taking everything the mind says seriously?
  • Do we need to neglect everything the mind says?
  • How can we train our mind judiciously?

***

06.34 The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.

 

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