02.62-63: What we hold mentally holds us mentally
Decreasing concentration spans are typical of generation X. Our media continuously offers us high-octane sensory stimulation, especially for our eyes. As compared to the rapidly changing and colorfully overdressed images that are dished out to us on TV serials, movies and commercials, the sensory fare provided by daily real life appears poverty-stricken. Consequently, our mind plays truant from real life at every possible opportunity, preferring to dwell on the titillating images on display in our mental gallery.
This mental truancy may initially seem to be just a pleasant and harmless distraction. But Gita wisdom alerts us about the inevitable consequences that are inbuilt in such distractions. The Bhagavad-gita (2.62–63) outlines step-by-step the process by which our thoughts gain an unstoppable momentum that steamrolls our moral and intellectual safeguards and careens us to self-destruction. When we hold on to an image mentally, we give it a foothold in our mind. And before we realize it, the foothold becomes a full-hold. That imagined pleasure makes us oblivious to all other considerations and propels us to toward its fulfillment, be it moral or immoral, prudent or imprudent. Often, this short-sightedness ends in tragic self-inflicted defeat.
To protect us from such defeat, Gita wisdom offers us an alternative trajectory for our mind: the process of bhakti-yoga. The yoga of devotion offers our senses rich spiritual stimulations centered on Krishna like his holy names, Deities and verses. By practice we can learn to hold these mentally. When we hold Krishna-thoughts mentally, the same psychological process facilitates our spiritual pursuits. Those thoughts hold us mentally and we gradually find ourselves constantly absorbed in Krishna and enriched by his encouraging, loving presence. That is life’s supreme security and ultimate fulfillment.