Category Archives: Mindful

Mind as boss by Eknath E.

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I like to think of the mind as the big boss, and the senses as his five secretaries. In any bureaucracy it’s difficult to go directly to the boss. If he is a busy man, and the mind is surely that. With lots of appointments and lots of high level negotiations on his hands, you are wise to start by winning the goodwill of his secretaries.

For a long time the situation resembles those movies from 1930s, where Spencer Tracy breezes into the office, flings himself onto a corner of receptionist’s desk and turns on the charm= Hey honey, how is the bossman today. She gives him the icy look. But gradually the ice melts and the secretary becomes a strong ally.

To win over the senses, when they are clamouring for the second piece of pie, or a cigaraette and a stiff drink, you will need more than Hollyword charm. You will need systematic practice of meditation and the other spiritual disciplines. If you want to be admitted to the boss’s office, you will have to persevere over a long period of time. And if you want to be boss’s boss, that will require lots of hard, hard work on the spiritual path.

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Mind and elephant trunk by Eknath E.

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Mind and elephant trunk by Eknath E. Purity of heart is to will one thing. –Soren K. There is a Hindu story comparing the mind to the trunk of an elephant-restless, inquisitive, always straying. In our villages in India, elephants are sometimes taken in religious processions through the streets to the temple. The streets are crooked and narrow, lined on either side with fruit and vegetable stalls. Along comes the elephant with his restless trunk, and in one sinuous motion, it grabs a whole bunch of bananas. He opens his cavernous mouth, and tosses the bananas in – stalk and all. From the next stall he picks up a coconut and tosses it in after the bananas. No threats or promises can make this restless trunk settle down. But the wise mahaout will give that trunk a short bamboo stick to hold. Then the elephant will walk along proudly, holding the bamboo stick in front like a drum major with a baton. He does not steal bananas and coconuts now, because his trunk has something to hold on to. The mind is the same way. We can keep it from straying into all kinds of situations if we just give it a mantram.