06.06: The mind can impel, not compel

by March 2, 2012

The Bhagavad-gita (6.6) points out the dual roles that the mind can play in shaping our destiny: if controlled, the mind can be our friend; if uncontrolled, it can be our enemy.
This verse implies that we can control the mind if we decide to. This may seem difficult to believe especially when the wild mind disrupts our ability to function normally. However, while dealing with the mind, there’s an empowering secret that we need to know and remember: the mind can never take the steering wheels from us. As far as our body is concerned, we are always in the driver’s seat – literally. But drivers are not always the owners of the vehicles that they drive and that happens to be the case with us too. We have a default traveling partner sitting permanently next to us: our mind. It constantly concocts new and dangerous ideas of where we should travel. And it prompts, prods, pushes, pinches and punches us to fulfill its wanderlust.
However, as we are in the driver’s seat, the mind can only impel us, never compel us.
Of course, for us to resist the mind’s deceptive and persuasive incitation, we need to have another traveling partner who gives us better direction and helps us see the folly of its schemes and the falsity of its promises. That partner is Krishna. To the extent we hear and follow Krishna’s voice, to that extent we can turn a deaf ear toward the mind and keep ourselves on track to creating a bright future for ourselves.

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