Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Control over the Mind
I’m often asked by my tarot clients, “Why did I do better at work last year… Or, why am I not able to make the same revenue this year.”
To say that, this year has been a slow year economically, is an understatement. But should it bog you down, and prevent you from pushing yourself to go out there, and get more business?
Failure, or any sort of dejection, can weigh one down.
But, the feeling of something not being the “same”, is largely a function of the mind. It arises from the fact that we compare one state of being to another, and desire the more favourable one.
Desire though prevents us from seeing things the way they are, and acting in the present.
Is it all a mind game then, and can the mind really push you toward or pull you away from achieving your optimum potential?
If so, is it not then in the power of the mind itself to shut out those external circumstances, and help you focus on the task at hand?
Whenever I get into a funk, and need to be pulled back into action — and gain greater control over my drifting mind — I pick up my most favourite text and motivator, the Bhagavad Gita.
“I shall not fight,” said Arjuna to Lord Krishna, and became silent. (2.09)
How often have we felt it’s easier to just do nothing, rather than to do and fail some more?
It’s so easy to take refuge in binge watching, or occupy ourselves in aimless activities, rather than brainstorm and find creative solutions to our life problems.
That’s exactly when we need to shake ourselves out of that state, and, like Lord Krishna, says,
“Get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna.” (2.37)
But, when we get up to fight, we must first get ready to conquer the mind, because it will play games…
It will make us imagine negative outcomes, and put imaginary obstacles on our path. We may get tempted to make excuses, rather than roll up our sleeves, and get our hands dirty.
And, this happens to the best of us, because such is the nature of the mind…it works like the wind, difficult to control, pulling us in its direction. As Arjuna describes it—
Because the mind, indeed, is very unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna. I think restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind. (6.33–34)
To help solve Arjuna’s problem, Lord Krishna expounded more on the mind, intellect and the senses. The senses lie below the mind, and the mind lies below the intellect.
Thus, the mind is sandwiched between the two — pulled back by the senses, and the knowledge of what it’s already seen and experienced, but pushed forward by the intellect, that nudges it to think more creatively and laterally, in the spirit of finding solutions, rather than getting bogged down by problems.
So, the mind can work in both ways — as a friend and as an enemy. But, to achieve something we have to befriend the mind, through control, as Lord Krishna states...
The mind alone is one’s friend as well as one’s enemy. The mind is the friend of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it. (6.05–06)
The mind becomes an enemy when we let our thoughts overpower us into inaction. Because, thinking through something is good, but overthinking something can be detrimental to the goal.
To avoid overthinking, one must objectively plan the course of action—plan A, plan B, and perhaps even improvise for Plan C, if needed. This approach takes involved detachment, a frame of mind where you can look at your work as work, without getting too affected both by the process and the end result.
Sometimes the work you do may reward you abundantly, and you may get praised, while at other times, your work may attract negative feedback, or, in the case of a business, you may not make as much revenue as you expected.
That’s when Lord Krishna’s next lesson helps…
The mind and intellect of a person become steady who is not attached to anything, who is neither elated by getting desired results, nor perturbed by undesired results. (2.57)
Everything we do can end in two ways— a favourable result or a not-so-favourable one. But that result should cease to be our worry; our focus instead should be on how to do something better every time we do it, and excel in it!
By staying detached to the outcome, we stay in control of our mind, and the situation at hand.
Staying in control of your mind also gives you a chance to come up with new ideas, new ways of doing something, changing course if needed, and even gauging if it’s better to just wait it out, and let the tides turn.
Because, as Lord Krishna says, sometimes, not doing anything is also wise…
The one who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is a wise person. (4.18)
Inaction can give you time to step back, and distance yourself from a situation. Inaction also prevents you from making more mistakes, that the agitated mind, bogged down by failure, could otherwise become prone to.
At such times, it is best to rest, reflect and follow it up with a response at a more appropriate time. Or, perhaps, wait for divine intervention — wise words or any other signs from the universe, that spring you back into action!
But know that you will not be able to abstain from action for long...
Lord Krishna says human beings cannot renounce work, they can only renounce the rewards of the work they do.
Perform your obligatory duty, because working is indeed better than sitting idle. Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible without work. (3.08)
Everything needs working on — your career, health, finances and relationships. How you prioritise these are up to you… But they can definitely not be neglected.
All you need to do is control your mind, and focus it in the right direction, rather than getting carried away by your senses or the desire for a certain outcome.
Because the mind, when controlled by the roving senses, steals away the intellect as a storm takes away a boat on the sea from its destination… (2.67)
Your dreams are your destination, your creative abilities are your intellect or the boat on which you will get there, and the mind is the wind that can move you in the right direction, or make you drift away, when steered by the senses or the outcome we desire.
But steer the boat you must, and take it to it’s rightful destination. And, to do that you must step into your intellectual power and gain control over the mind… Just like a boat makes it way through stormy seas to reach the shores of its destination!
If you’ve missed the previous blogs in the Lord Krishna series, here are the links to click on:
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Health
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Decision-Making
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Relationships
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Control Over the Senses
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