I was hoping the ekādaśī would fix me but I didn’t really cross my fingers yesterday and so it backfired. Not that I’m superstitious that way but I do believe there’s a connection between thoughts and their future results. In my case thoughts usually destroy the future and so I can never make a correct prediction. Crossing fingers won’t help.
It’s frustrating – having all my plans being ruined without fail, but there’s a benefit in learning this lesson, too. For one thing, it clips my ego. I KNOW I can’t control the world, can’t shape it according to my wishes, so I know that any kind of daydreaming is a waste of time. At this stage it doesn’t really matter whether dreams come true or not, I’ve seen it fail enough times to disassociate my wishes from reality altogether. The other thing is that sometimes I DO know how things are going to turn out, I just dare not to think about it and go for more pleasant versions instead. There was a big part of me yesterday that told me my ekādaśī chanting would not be great, I guess that’s why I needed to mention “crossed fingers” in the first place. However, I didn’t want to sound that sad premonition outloud.
It’s a typical mind trick – try to will the future the best way possible despite having serious doubts that it would ever come true. I fall for it every time but I also realize that escaping it requires escaping the mind itself. If you know something then be quiet about it, don’t let the mind come in and ruin everything. Somehow or other the mind never gets it right so the best thing is to ignore it and keep your intuition to yourself. I know it’s very difficult but maybe that’s why they call it intuition – it’s not something you can just think up, it’s there on its own, so better leave it alone. Trying to flesh it out by conjuring the correct scenario in the mind is going to fail, at least in my experience. Just wait until it happens on its own and accept whatever comes.
This is where the mind fails us once again – by contemplating the future it positions us relative to results so that we are bound to react with either likes or dislikes according to mind’s plan, not according to Kṛṣṇa’s. If we didn’t listen to the mind we would accept whatever Kṛṣṇa’s has given us but by making plans we are tricked into making judgments. Even if things turn out favorable we’d be thinking they are not good enough or not perfect enough and we would always be looking the gifted horse in the mouth. Of course if Kṛṣṇa’s shows up Himself even through a small spark of His glory we’d be immediately won over but I’m talking about our regular karma here. Mind forces us to like or dislike our regular karma while Kṛṣṇa tells us to accept everything with gratitude and as means of serving Him.
Tricked by the mind we place various demands on how we would serve the Lord. We need prasādam to be just right, we need a certain model of a mobile phone, we need a certain kind of wife or husband, we need to feel safe and secure, we need to be healthy, we need sufficient funds, we need a peaceful mind, we need our enemies kept at bay, we need our seniors to be first class devotees, we need our juniors to be respectful, we need we need we need – there’s no end to our conditions. These conditions are born out of the mind’s preoccupation with likes and dislikes and nothing else, because everything in service to the Lord is absolutely perfect, spiritually speaking, but the mind is not a spiritual thing and so it comes with its judgments and dictates everything.
And it’s not only our mind that does that – the entire material world works that way. Well, maybe not the world itself but everyone placed in it. It’s not OUR mind only, it’s everybody’s mind, and if we manage to avoid making judgments ourselves there’s no shortage of people who would gladly do it for us and tell us how to live our lives. It’s not only our mind’s company that we should avoid but the rest of the world, too.
There’s really no difference between our mind and the mind of our fellow beings. The likes and dislikes might be slightly different but only as far as our senses are unique, which they aren’t. We have tons of social upādhis where we share our goals and where our senses react in unison. Patriotism is one such thing, everyone cheers for the national team just the same, but there are many many more, more than we are usually aware of. The fact is that our entire being, our sense of ourselves, is formed by social interactions and it has been going on since the moment of our birth. We’ve changed a lot since then, haven’t we? It’s all been due to the influence of others so they, the others, do get a lot of say in how our senses work in this world, meaning our minds are alike, too, meaning they always have tons of advice on how we should live our lives. Just ask your wife, she knows how to make you perfect better than you do yourself.
The point is that we should avoid listening not only to our minds but to the minds of everyone around us, too. Family members, friends, co-workers, people on the streets, shop assistants, voices on TV, strangers on the internet – they all channel the universal mind and they all force us to like or dislike everything we see. It doesn’t even matter if they agree or disagree with our own mind, they force us to take a position, any position, and that’s already bad for our spiritual advancement.
The whole lot has to go, all of them.
Another argument is that some of them are serious offenders and even if we avoid making offenses ourselves our association with them is just as bad. Well, maybe if we talk to meat eaters it’s not as bad as slaughtering a cow ourselves but even that is not guaranteed because this subtle influence is harder to resist and it might show up when it’s already too late. This is especially true about sex and that’s why we are specifically ordered to avoid association of not only the opposite sex but of members of our own gender who are attached to sex life. Anything related to [illicit] sex life has to be purged from our consciousness. Same is true regarding offenses against devotees – we cannot allow ourselves to listen to them. If we can’t stop the offender we must leave the place immediately.
This seems obvious but my point was that sharing in these parts of the universal mind is just as bad as harboring these thoughts in ourselves. Sometimes The Mind is just bad, doesn’t matter if it manifests in our head or in the heads of our associates, that’s why we are told to avoid certain places even though we ourselves might not share in temptations. There’s no real, actual border between subtle elements like the mind and intelligence. We imagine it being there only due to false ego but these elements are shared. Hmm, maybe I’m onto something big here, it’s the topic I was keeping in mind for a long time and there are many aspects to it I’m not ready to tackle yet.
Oh, and the advaya-jñāna still remains unseen and imperceptible. This is by definition, of course, but the definition applies only to those devoid of spiritual consciousness, so to say that is’s unseen means that I’m still not ready to perceive it, assuming Kṛṣṇa is not withholding it on purpose. Sad, there was time only a few days ago when it seemed so close.