What’s wrong with treating the mind as an enemy (Managing the mind 3)
Suppose we live in a house whose accessway is controlled by a neighbor. Though they act friendly, they often covert trouble us, by obstructing, distracting, misinforming. Once we recognize their double-dealing, we might want to deem them our enemy. But suppose we couldn’t relocate or have them evicted. Then we would try to discover what makes them antagonistic toward us and thereafter correct their misconceptions.
We need to adopt a similar approach with our mind. Gita wisdom explains that the mind controls the accessway we souls have to the material body and the material world in which we function. Though the mind usually acts friendly, it often misleads us, prompting us to do things that promise pleasure but deliver trouble: things such as indiscriminate sensual indulgence. When we realize what the mind is doing, we may want to deem it our enemy. However, we have to live with it lifelong; we can’t get it evicted, nor can we go anywhere without it. That’s why we need to have at least a working relationship with it. Is that possible? Yes, the Bhagavad-gita (06.06) states that our mind can be not just our enemy but also our friend.
Our mind misleads us because it is itself misled: it actually believes, for example, that sensual indulgence brings pleasure. How can we expose the falsity of such misconceptions? By becoming assertive in our inner conversation with our mind, avoiding the extremes of passively accepting whatever it says and aggressively rejecting whatever it says.
When we thus clear the mind’s misconceptions,we gradually make it our friend.
The mind is not our enemy; many of its conceptions are — go beyond passively believing it and aggressively condemning it to assertively educating it.
Think it over:
- Why do we need to develop a working relationship with our mind?
- What are the unhealthy and healthy forms of our inner conversation with our mind?
- List three major misconceptions of your mind. How can you correct them using your intelligence and experience?
06.06: For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image