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Mind Is The Source Of All Action

If we try to understand our mind, we will find that it is the source of all action. This manifests as volition, the activity of the ego. The mind is working ceaselessly. Either it is going towards something or it is turning away from something else. The senses are drawn towards their objects, but it is the mind that gets connected with the senses. It then gets connected with the ego, which makes us think, ‘I am doing this, or I am not doing this, or I will not do that’ and so on. Thus we identify ourselves with the ego and the senses through the mind.

All spiritual practice is concerned with the control of the mind — to direct our thoughts through a channel. Thus, one part of our mind can always be directed towards a goal to be attained while the other parts of the mind may be busy with other things: It is the [three] gunas (which constitute the senses) that act upon the gunas (as sense objects); with this understanding the sadhaka does not get attached (either to actions or to their results)’ (Bhagavad Gita 3.28).

Here lies the secret: to be intensely active, but all the time remaining a witness of one’s actions, keeping one part of the mind directed towards God, the supreme goal of life. Whenever the mind, in the midst of various activities, forgets this goal, one has to take notice and turn it back to God again.

It is not work which makes it difficult for us to meditate. It is attachment and ego-consciousness which together carry our minds away from God. But once we have fixed God as the goal of life, the mind will return again and again to God in spite of distractions.

The Gita says clearly: ‘One who has renounced attachment to the results of karma, who is ever contented and totally non-dependent—such a person, even though very actively engaged in work, in reality does not do anything.’

One seeks solitude only to quieten the turbulent mind. But once the mind is well-controlled, it does not matter whether one is in solitude or in a crowd. What we need to do is to develop the power to withdraw the mind and establish it in the Divine — the Atman.