We don’t know the future, but neither does our mind – its fears don’t forecast the future
Our mind often fills us with fears about the future: “What if this goes wrong? What if that goes wrong?” Indeed, “What if?” is the question by which the mind starts showing us many horror movies that can paralyze and traumatize us.
As we live in a world of uncertainty, some amount of anxiety about the future is natural and unavoidable. Fear is a fundamental feature of our existential predicament. Yet fearfulness, in the sense of having our mind full of fears and making us incapable of thinking of other things, is unhealthy.
One way to counter fearfulness is by remembering that the mind is as ignorant as us. We don’t know about the future, but then neither does our mind. Its dark dystopian forecasts are no more probable of coming true than any other of the millions of possible outcomes. The mind is neither a futurologist nor an astrologer; it is simply a fear-monger. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.35) cautions that fearfulness characterizes a mind infected by the mode of ignorance.
Once we understand the mind’s fear-mongering tendency, we can turn from it to someone who is a far better forecaster of the future: the supreme controller, Krishna. He is our greatest well-wisher (05.29) and the overseer of everything that happens (13.23). He is present in our hearts (15.15) and can give us the necessary intelligence to face whatever situation we may face (10.10), in the present or the future. And we can easily connect with him by practicing bhakti-yoga, which enables us to sense his pacifying presence and bask in his empowering grace. The more we become habituated to practicing bhakti-yoga, the more our default thoughts shift from the mind’s fears to the heart’s faith in our supremely faith-worthy Lord.
Think it over:
- How is the mind a fear-monger?
- How can Krishna help us calm the mind?
- How does bhakti-yoga raise us above fear?
18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.
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