As I listen to the wind howl and the windows rattle, I remember when Arjuna told Krishna that to control the mind is more difficult than controlling the wind. “Impossible” he was basically saying, for who indeed can stop the wind and the force of its power. Is the mind that wild?
The mind is part of the equipment of the body we all have. It’s part of the subtle body - mind, intelligence, and false ego - but nevertheless exerts enormous influence over how we live our life. While the senses interact directly with the world, at each particular moment the mind can take us around the world and back, up to heaven and down to hell, lamenting the past, anxious about the future - all in a matter of seconds. We have to admire it, even as it tortures us. It successfully ties us to this world and cleverly avoids being managed.
For those who really do want to tackle the mind and keep it from not driving us mad, Krishna says it can be done by suitable practice and detachment (Gita 6.35). Here’s how Srila Prabhupada describes what that ‘practice’ means by inviting us to engage in any of the 9 types of devotional service to Krishna:
The first and foremost of such devotional engagements is hearing about Krsna. This is a very powerful transcendental method for purging the mind of all misgivings.
I’ve always loved the powerful simplicity of the process of hearing about Krishna. Just by listening, by allowing transcendental sound to enter our ears, the mad mind shrinks.
The more one hears about Krsna, the more one becomes enlightened and detached from everything that draws the mind away from Krsna. By detaching the mind from activities not devoted to the Lord, one can very easily learn vairagya. Vairagya means detachment from matter and engagement of the mind in spirit.
This really is the key - the engagement of the mind in spirit. The mind will soak in wherever it is. We need to soak it in spirit everyday. A good deep soaking in Krishna’s name and Krishna’s pastimes.
Mindfulness - control of the mind, mental peace - is desired by many in contemporary society. It can be achieved, easily and effortlessly, with the practice of bhakti yoga, adding stories and songs, mantras and meditations on Krishna to our schedule. Watch your mind change, and with it your life. It really is a formula that works.