Why monitoring the mind is so important (Managing the mind series 6)

Suppose we are piloting a plane, taking it on an important mission. Suppose further we have been alerted that the plane’s navigation software is vulnerable to be hacked by abductors who want to misdirect the plane for their own nefarious purposes. We would need to constantly keep track of where we are going.

Similar is our predicament when we as souls strive to engage our body in purposeful activities. The mind is like the software interface between our plane-like bodies and us, who are pilot-like souls. Our mind has several vulnerabilities due to the unhealthy impressions in it. These impressions correspond largely to impurities that we have indulged in earlier — impurities such as lust, anger and greed. These impressions can get triggered by external stimuli and when triggered, they can impel us to do things different or, even opposite to, what we intended. 

Suppose a student plans to study several hours to prepare for an important exam. But they chance upon a sensual image that arouses lust within them. Driven by that lust, they may waste all those hours bingeing on sensual imagery. 

What makes us especially vulnerable is today’s hi-tech social media-centered environment. Herein, many manipulators specialize in exploiting our vulnerabilities — to equate them with hackers-abductors is no exaggeration. 

How can we protect ourselves? By regularly monitoring our mind, noting what thoughts it is entertaining and what actions it is propositioning. We are safe as long as our mind stays on our thoughtfully-chosen intentions and the corresponding actions. When it strays away, as it predictably will, we need to notice it quickly and refocus it, firmly and patiently (Bhagavad-gita 06.26). If we can detect and correct our mind’s movements before it comes under the spell of any strong temptation, we can keep ourselves safe. 

One-sentence summary:

Monitor the mind regularly, or it will end up misdirecting us far away from our intended destination. 

Think it over:

  • How are we in a vulnerable situation?
  • How does today’s environment increase our vulnerability?
  • How can we protect ourselves? 

***

06.26: From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

To know more about this verse, please click on the image

Author: Chaitanya Charan

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4 Comments

  1. Sir, this is a really good article. Can you please also suggest the steps one should take to bring the mind back on course, like remedial measures..e.g. chanting god’s mantra etc.

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  2. This is so useful, and it is so tough to constantly monitor the mind. But there is no other way. We have to constantly be on guard and pray to the Lord for his grace, I guess! Thank you Prabhuji for articulating it so well with the pilot and software metaphor.

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    • Happy to be of service.

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