Two principles for making our mind our friend (Managing the mind series 5)
Suppose we are named guardians of the son of some old friends who have suddenly passed away. Suppose further that we don’t know their son well and that we have no way out of the obligation. When he comes to stay with us, we will need to learn to care for him responsibly.
We need to similarly take responsibility for dealing with our mind. Though the mind has always been with us, we may not have been consciously aware of its presence. Or if we were, we might have treated it as just a nuisance or even as an adversary. But as the mind is going to be with us, it’s helpful to treat it like someone we need to know better so that we can manage it better. We can learn about our mind through monitoring and help it to learn through mentoring.
Monitoring: Just as we would monitor an adopted child to know what they do and whom they like to hang out with, we need to note our mind’s default thoughts and its habitual attachments. Just as we would try to minimize the child’s unhealthy activities and association, we need to similarly minimize the mind’s harmful thoughts and attachments. The Bhagavad-gita refers to such regulation as vairagya (detachment)
Mentoring: Just as we would explain to the child what is good for him, say, studies and engage him in those activities kindly yet firmly, we need to similarly train our mind to focus on the things that matter. The Gita refers to such training as abhyasa (practice).
Over time, as the child sees that our actions are benefiting it, he will warm up to us. Similarly, our mind will also gradually become our friend.
To make our mind our friend, monitor it to minimize its unhealthy activities and mentor it to maximize its healthy activities.
Think it over:
- Why is it helpful to treat our mind like a newly-adopted child?
- How can we monitor our mind?
- How can we mentor our mind?
06.35: Lord Sri Krishna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image