14.22 – Look at the mind before you look with the mind
When a normally cordial friend snaps at us for no reason, we understand sympathetically, “That’s due to a bad mood.”
When we identify the bad mood of a person, we separate that person from the mind. We look at the irritated mind as something distinct from and peripheral to the genial core of that person.
We often do the same with ourselves, but it’s usually after the event to rationalize it: “I spoke like that because I was in a foul mood.” If instead we could catch our bad moods before we act on them, we could save ourselves from a lot of unnecessary trouble.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (14.22) urges us to evaluate whether our various emotions are instigations of the modes and then decide whether to act on them. To be thus introspectively proactive, we need to train ourselves to look at the mind instead of looking with the mind.
Looking with the mind means identifying ourselves with the mood of the mind and acting on it. We use the mind as the spectacles with which we see the world and interpret everything according to the current color of the lens, that is, our present feelings.
Looking at the mind means becoming aware of our feelings and evaluating: “Are these my authentic emotions coming from my core values and central concerns? Or are these passing fancies, kneejerk reactions to extraneous events, hormonal rushes that have little if anything to do with what I wish to live for?”
By thus identifying our mood, we can bring our actions in harmony with our values and become mature, wise, self-mastered persons – worthy of our true spiritual glory as pure parts of Krishna.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities — such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.