As we approach the end of the year and prep for the next, it’s a natural time to be reflective. The opportunity for a ‘fresh start’ can help us look at our life, shortcomings and all, and plan for change and personal growth.
A verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam can guide our introspection: “A transcendentalist who does not completely control his words and mind by superior intelligence will find that his spiritual vows, austerities and charity flow away just as water flows out of an unbaked clay pot.” 11.16. 43
Imagine ourselves as the clay pot in this verse that contains the water of our sincere spiritual activities. What causes the water to leak and flow away? The unbaked result from uncontrolled words and mind.
We know this. We know how the insensitive words of others can sometimes crack our heart. We know how our own mind can weaken our resolve, interrupt our meditation practice. We know how our words can serve to encourage or discourage others. Words are powerful. Our mind is full of them and our life surrounded by them.
This verse gives us the clue to spiritual survival in the landscape of the mind and words - intelligence. Part of which is thinking carefully about how we respond to and interact with life.
We can seal the leaks, and thus keep our spiritual practice energised, alive, and transformative, by being more aware of the words we hear and speak, the actions our mind impels us to do, and the consequences of both. That and also replacing negative words and actions with positives.
This is a function of the intelligence. Exercise it well - it is the friend that keeps us contained and strong for service and spiritual realization.