06.05 – When a salesperson knocks at the inner door…

by November 29, 2012

When a salesperson comes knocking at our door, we evaluate the proposal by merit. If the proposal is unreasonable or unnecessary, we usually say a polite but firm no.

Suppose a salesperson could knock on our inner door and present proposals internally. Should our response change? No, because what matters is not the method of approach, but the merit of the proposal.

Unfortunately however, we often succumb to even absurd proposals when they are presented internally. Why? Because we quickly identify with an internal proposal as if it were our own idea. And that identification becomes its major justification: “After all, how can my idea not be a good idea?”

The salesperson who uses this sophisticated modus operandi is our own mind.  When it makes an internal proposal, we often give the idea such uncritical consideration that it soon becomes our intention. At the proposal stage, the idea was just a passing thought that temporarily knocked on our inner door. At the intention stage, we have accepted the deal and accepted the idea as if it were our own. This growth from proposition to intention may be good if the idea itself is a good idea.

However, often the idea knocking at our inner door is not such a good idea. Frequently, it is a proposal for worldly indulgence that is at best petty if it is merely time-wasting and at worst pathetic if it is immoral or anti-devotional.

That’s why, to make wise decisions, we need to internalize the recommendation of the Bhagavad-gita (6.5) to treat the mind as a person separate from us. By thus distancing ourselves from the mind, we can evaluate its ideas by merit. Then we can benefit from its occasional good ideas that elevate us and reject its regular bad ideas that degrade us.

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