When someone’s misbehavior irritates us, we may tell them off: “Why are you letting your mind take you for a ride?”
Our statement, even if true, is likely to be condescending. It can imply that they are so dumb as to let their mind control them, while we are so smart as to see what they can’t see: that their mind is controlling them. If we delight in this feeling of superiority, we may not realize that we are ourselves being taken for a ride by our mind – it has deluded us into believing that we have controlled it, while actually keeping us in its control.
That’s why before we mind anyone else’s mind, we need to first mind our own mind. Undoubtedly, if others fail to mind their mind, their failure can trouble us. But, if we react to their failure by failing to mind our mind, we will act in ways that makes bad things worse.
To understand, consider an out-of-control car driver. Suppose we are driving on a road and the driver next to us loses control over their car, which veers into our lane. Angry and alarmed, we may yell at them to control their car. But if we get so caught in yelling at them that we lose control of our own car, we increase the likelihood of an accident. We need to first focus on controlling our car and doing our part to avert the immediate danger. Then we can exhort or instruct them to control their car.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (13.29) urges us to see that we all are in the same boat – we are souls driving body-mind machines that tend to go out of our control. Equipped with this educated, empathic vision of our universal human predicament, we can better mind our mind.[ bhagavad-gita ] [ gita ] [ mind ]