The Restless Mind

the-restless-mindA disciple and his teacher were walking through a forest.   The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in constant unrest.   He asked his teacher, “Why are most people's minds restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still the mind?”   The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said, "I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree when a small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears, then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more."   This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly, "Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"   The fly answered, "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them, what is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"   The elephant stopped eating and said, "My five senses do not rule my attention, whatever I do I get immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating, in this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule and control my attention, and not the other way around."   Upon hearing these words, the disciple's eyes opened wide and a smile appeared on his face. He looked at his teacher and said, "I understand! If my five senses are in control of my mind and attention, then my mind is in constant unrest. However, if I am in charge of my five senses and attention, then my mind will be calm."   "Yes, that's right", answered the teacher, "The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind."  

Hare Krishna! Dhirasanta dasa Goswami