Very often we feel helpless in front of the vagaries of the mind; we feel the mind is completely out of our control. But that is not true. And that can be proved with a very simple example.
Most people in the world dislike going to work, unless of course they are self employed. Just as the Sunday evening Sun starts to set, a discomforting feeling takes over the mind. Yet, people overcome the dreadful Monday morning blues and make it to office week after week. How is it that even when our mind doesn’t enjoy doing something, it ends up doing the very same thing every single day? How do we control the mind?
This is how the human mind works – the mind is a subtle machine that generates thoughts. Along with the mind is the intellect, also called the power of discrimination that controls our thoughts. The conviction of our intellect creates the direction of thoughts in our mind. If our intellect is convinced that there is happiness in money, all our thoughts will run towards earning money. If our intellect is convinced there is happiness in service to society, are thoughts are directed towards charitable efforts.
In the above example, our intellect is firmly convinced that if we do not go to office our survival will be jeopardized. Where will the money to fulfill our basic necessities come from? How will we feed our family? The intellect is firmly convinced that going to office and earning money is critical. Hence despite all the hardships that come our way, the decision of the intellect pushes us to office every day.
Now if our intellect could make such decisions again and again in the proper places we would immediately gain control over the mind. In other words to control the mind we need wisdom, it is not merely an exercise. Very often people treat meditation like an exercise. People wish to develop power of focus and concentration like they develop muscles. But that is a very tedious and limited means of gaining control over the mind. If we could appreciate the power of our intellect in controlling the mind, we would not struggle so much with the mind. An easier way to control the mind is to illumine the intellect with the right kind of knowledge and then make it convinced about it. Conviction in the knowledge comes with repeated contemplation.
Spiritual aspirants struggling to gain control over the mind should illumine the intellect with divine knowledge. This knowledge is received from the Guru and Scriptures. Then they must repeatedly contemplate over that knowledge through shravan, smaran and kirtan. Once their intellect becomes convinced about the knowledge that our Supreme goal is to love and serve God, there is nothing that can distract the mind.