Krishna teaches Arjuna how to navigate the mind

The story of how Lord Krishna teaches his disciple Arjuna how to navigate his mind is part of the Hindu text The Bhagavad Gita. In these times of lock-down and the new Covid-19 illness with all of the associated mental challenges these bring the story helps to illustrate 4 metal well-being practices that could be beneficial to all. The story tells of how Arjuna’s inner turmoil is used by Krishna to teach him lessons about the mind, how duty, action and renunciation are taught through the core paradigms of action action, knowledge and love.

The Bhagavad Gita, although a religious text non-the-less offers solace and guidance through lessons from ages past. Its just one of many books of guidance I may from time-to-time dip into for help making sense of a world and universe beset by confusion and complexity far beyond my reckoning.

The 4 Points of Guidance

Guidance # 1; Be Yourself – Follow your own path to sustain the health of your mind, you have to find your own temperament and act in line with it. Or to say another way, your duty and actions should move towards your true purpose.

“It is far better to discharge the duties prescribed, even though faultily than to perform another’s duties perfectly”

The things you have learnt are not static and fixed, they are moving and responsive to the wider systems at play around us and through us. So over time your values and behaviours and attitudes will change. The trick is to figure out what makes you tick right now and run with it. By this you’ll leverage your strengths in the moment.

Guidance # 2; Do Without Expectation – focus on your journey, not the destination because as we have seen over the last 100 days destinies change unexpectedly. Allow yourself to accept the outcome, do your work or activities for the sake of the work or activity. I’m not suggesting working aimlessly, to have a goal in mind is important (I write this blog because I enjoy writing, my goal is enjoyment). Emotion is a key motivator in working towards goals, you envision some reward at the end of a fixed event and the thought of achieving it brings the anticipation of pleasure.

The key is to concentrate on the process over the end point. Have no expectations other than to make each piece or item or experience simply better than the last. Let go and do the best you can because you can.

Guidance # 3; Moderate Your Life – limit intake and mitigate excess in all areas of your life. Don’t do too much or too little of what you find important in your life. Eat enough but not too much. Get enough sleep but don’t lie in bed unnecessarily. Say enough but don’t be overly elaborate.

“For him/her who is moderate in food and diversion, who’s actions are disciplined, who is moderate in sleep and waking, Yoga destroys all sorrow”

Create a schedule and see where your time goes, subtract those things that are unnecessary or excessive.

Guidance # 4; Practice Meditation – the gateway to balance is to meditate.

“The practice of meditation frees you from all affliction. This is the path of Yoga. Follow it with determination and sustained enthusiasm… Little by little, through patience and repeat, the mind will become still in the self”

Negative thoughts are intrusive and care not for your well-being. They do not ask permission to wreck you mind but settling into meditation is to simply be, to settle the ego. Overcoming the impulsive thoughts tames the mind into acceptance.

The Take-Away

Have faith in your own mind.

It matters not what your particular brand of faith is or not, you can believe in yourself, and to believe in something is a source of strenght.

Desire = Belief, Belief = Thought, Thoughts = Action.

Philip Dawson MBA | Strategy Consultant | Trainer | Systems Thinker | Growth & Innovation Enthusiast

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