You and your spouse desperately need a break from your boisterous preteen child. You decide to hire your typical adolescent babysitter for the weekend, give them some cash in hand that they might need for expenses during that period and then you make a dash for paradise - albeit temporary. Your child, being upset with you, starts to cry and make the babysitters life hellish. "What should I do?" thinks the poor caregiver. "I got it! Kids love toys, they're so absorbed by them. Let me take this kid to a toy store, that'll shut him up for some time and calm him down." As the babysitter takes him down the aisles, the child's tantrums gain momentum and magnitude instead of making him quiet. The child creates a scene. This was unexpected. "I want this toy, I want that toy! Give me this, my parents would buy it for me if they were here, why don't you!!!" The unprepared caretaker you hired ends up blowing all the money you gave them on toys. When you return from the trip, not only does the babysitter vow never to mind your child again but all the toys your child demanded lay abandoned, scattered on the floor - your child has found something else to occupy himself with.
The uncontrolled mind can be compared to an out of control child in a toy store.
Seems like a familiar situation we see in movies; I remember treating a distant uncle of mine in the same way when I was a young child while just going out for a short stroll. He wasn't prepared either but ended scraping up a couple of dollars to buy me a Kinder Surprise egg. I remember the toy too, it was a small lion. The yoga texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, being impregnated with wisdom, teach us that almost everyone of us are constantly living with this babysitter and child.
Our mind is much like the uncontrolled child. It often lacks discrimination about what is good for ourselves and what is detrimental. The mind is very sentimental, emotional, impulsive and unsteady. It just wants to focus on something (a desire or thought) that will satisfy it then and there. When a child demands toys in a toy store, it is the responsibility of the caretaker to tell the child what they are allowed to get and what they should not get. But if the guardian is weak in discrimination, we can hardly expect a profitable outcome for both of them. Our intelligence is just like the babysitter. It's supposed to positively control and uplift the mind from its constant and often non-sensical ramblings. When both the mind is uncontrolled and the intelligence weak, it paves way to depression and going nowhere good with life. The WHO explains that depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. At its worst, depression leads to suicide which is how close to 800,000 people unfortunately decide to end their lives each year word wide. Beyond Blue reports that Australia, with a population of just over 20 million has at least 3 million people who are living with anxiety or depression.
Yoga's pinnacle of knowledge, the Bhagavad Gita, explains that the material world we live in is inherently designed to instigate suffering upon the individual - sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less. Technically speaking, a reduction in suffering is what we call "happiness". The yoga texts explain that unless we strengthen our intelligence with spiritual knowledge about who we are and how to live in this world, unaffected by its dualities, we will continue our angst. Knowledge is the key factor behind all undertakings, we just have to choose what type of knowledge we want to cultivate.
Absorbing ourselves in cultivating higher knowledge leads to enlightenment and genuine happiness.
Choose not to hang out with dumb (the uncontrolled mind) and dumber (the weak intelligence) anymore. Do yourself a favour and illuminate yourself with the ocean of transcendental wisdom contained within the bhakti texts!