What is the proper way to relate to your mind? The voice asked. Should you always do what it says? Clearly not, for we have all kinds of thoughts that are irrelevant or fantastic. Should we ignore what it says? No again, because the mind gives us all the desires upon which we build our lives.
There is no single way to relate to the mind. You can’t take a stance that will always work. When people decide arbitrarily to be optimists, they may miscalculate when it comes to serious crises, evildoing, wars, personal conflicts, etc. If they decide arbitrarily to be pessimists, they will miss many opportunities for joy, fulfillment, hope, and faith.
My mental guide showed me this, and I was intrigued. It would appear that being spiritual is one stance that works, yet there are situations where even being spiritual – tolerant, loving, accepting, and detached from materialism – won’t work at all.
A parent can’t simply accept and love a child addicted to cocaine, for example; active intervention is called for. A thousand other examples come to mind. Love won’t defeat torturers; tolerance won’t stop the excess of fanatics. A person must find an infinitely flexible way to relate to the mind; otherwise something gets lost. The most precious gift of the mind – its total freedom – is the source of our creativity.
Now, my mental guide said, look at the world. Isn’t it the same as the mind? The same unpredictability prevails, and therefore you cannot take a fixed attitude toward the world that works. People who are congenitally optimistic about the future are as shortsighted as people who are congenitally pessimistic.
Mind, the world, and Karma are the same thing, perfect mirrors of one another. Their complexity is impossible to fathom. Their infinite connections can never be mapped out, and even if they could be, the next tick of the clock will bring a new, equally infinite set of possibilities.
Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).