Treating the mind as an enemy can be uncomfortable, treating it as a friend can be fatal — treat it as a patient
Suppose we are living with someone prone to wild mood swings. We will need to watch them carefully to understand their present mood and adapt our behavior accordingly.
Inside all of us is a moody partner: our own mind. When it is in a good mood, it can help us think clearly and act constructively. When it is in a bad mood, it can make our thinking muddled and our actions unproductive, even counterproductive. Thus, the mind can be both our friend and enemy (Bhagavad-gita 06.05).
Given the mind’s bipolar nature, how should we treat it? Not as an enemy or as a friend, but as a patient.
If we treat every thought in our mind as a potential enemy, we will soon be drained — we will become like a soldier on a volatile border, doing round-the-clock duty. If we treat every thought as a trustworthy friend, we will end up deceived, even destroyed — we will become like a soldier who hugs an approaching person and is stabbed. The best way to treat the mind is as a patient, by providing it the medication of devotion.
If we practice bhakti-yoga to link with the all-attractive, all-pure ultimate reality, Krishna, that devotional connection gives us higher satisfaction. When the mind experiences how satisfying absorption in Krishna is, it slowly becomes attached to him. Because he is unchanging, attachment to him steadies our moody mind. And gradually that divine attachment purifies it of the attachments that fuel its mood swings. While we practice bhakti, if some thought pops up intrusively in our mind, our spiritual connectedness gives us the stability to evaluate that thought objectively and respond maturely.
By thus treating the mind with devotion, we can cure its mood swings and relish enduring happiness.
Think it over:
- How does our mind have a bipolar nature?
- For dealing with the mind, what is the best way to look at it?
- How does bhakti-yoga treat the mind?
06.05 One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
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