Friday, September 7, 2012

"My Mind Has a Mind of Its Own"

"When I pray or chant, other thoughts come up. It's as if my mind has a mind of its own."

"Your mind has a mind of its own? I like that phrase. Did you just come up with it?"

Twice a week a few friends gather by phone to discuss Srimad Bhagavatam.
The voice from Florida responded," Yes, I think it just came up now. But it's true. My mind is very distracted. No matter how hard I try, I can't chase distracting thoughts away."

"So you're unable to drive them away?", I asked.
"Yes. The harder I try, the stronger they become."
"They sound like my son's goats."
"Your son has goats?"
"Yes, two very nice goats. Almost every morning he brings me a quart of fresh milk, still warm."
"Wow, that's so nice."
"Yes, it's like a tonic, full of vitamins and enzymes that you don't get from processed milk. But these goats like to eat my bean bushes and Maharha's rose bush. We would chase them away, waving a stick. The more I'd try to get them away from our plants, the more interest they had in them. I thought they were evil.
One day while visiting my son's home across our gravel road, I watched the goats nibble weeds and underbrush, turning useless plants into milk. As I walked away, they began to follow me. They simply wanted to be with me. You cant' chase goats away I realized. You must lead them where you want them to be. Our thoughts are similar. We can't chase bad thoughts away, you have to lead them somewhere good"

"Thank you. That's very helpful.", came the voice through the phone.

"Here's another comparison that you may find helpful." I continued, "You can't remove darkness from a room. You can try to fan it out, or carry buckets of darkness away, but there will be no improvement. Simply bring in light and the darkness will leave automatically.
You can't drive darkness out of a room, you can't chase goats away and you can't push negative thoughts out of your head.
These things are not evil. The mind is innocent, like goats. It simply needs to be lead in a healthy direction.
It's like a child, with little direction of its own.
Take it by the hand and lead it to what inspires you.
Before starting your prayers or meditation, consider where you want to lead your mind. If you go there first, your mind will follow you.
Keep a journal of things that inspire you. That will be a lifelong resource. Don't keep track of what is bad, you'll lead those goats of your thoughts right back to where you don't want them to be."

"That's so true." the voice had become animated and hopeful. "I can't wait to try this out! Thank you."

"And thank you for bringing up the topic. The discussion has lead my mind to a happy place. Now shall we read more from Srimad Bhagavatam?"


Join our Srimad Bhagavatam conference call
7 PM Every Mon. and Thursday

(209) 647-1000
Access Code: 585332#