This is the first part of a seminar in Darwin I was invited to give.
For most people there is little to no understanding of the link between an uncontrolled mind and unhappiness. The Bhagavad-gita famously states:
One must deliver oneself with the help of one’s mind, and not degrade oneself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well. Bhagavad-gita 6.5
For one who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, the mind will remain the greatest enemy. Bhagavad-gita 6.6
If we are always just reacting to, and following, the dictates of our minds, then this results in unhappiness and misfortune. We should see the mind as a tool to be used by us for good and to seek good outcomes through wise choices of how to live and act.
In this talk we explore the nature of the mind and the connection between the eternal living being occupying the material body and their mind.
Some other yoga texts on the mind:
This uncontrolled mind is the greatest enemy of the living entity. If one neglects it or gives it a chance, it will grow more and more powerful and will become victorious. Although it is not factual, it is very strong. It covers the constitutional position of the self/atma. Bhagavat Purana 5.11.17
The mind, which is subject to change, and the perceiver, which is not, are in proximity but are of distinct and different characters. When the mind is directed externally and acts mechanically toward objects there is either pleasure or pain. When at the appropriate time, however, an individual begins inquiry into the very nature of the link between the perceiver and the perception, the mind is disconnected from external objects and there arises the understanding of the perceiver itself. Yoga-Sutra 3.35
The pure and transcendental consciousness of the atma (self) is unchangeable. When the mind receives the reflection of that consciousness it is able to perceive and appears like the seer. Yoga-Sutra 4.22
The mind, being able to perceive due to its reflecting both the atma (self) and objects of perception, appears to comprehend everything. Yoga-Sutra4.23
Even though the mind has accumulated various impressions (and desires) of various types it is always at the disposal of the atma (self). This is because the mind cannot function without the power of the perceiver. Yoga-Sutra 4.24
For one who has realized the self (atma) as being distinct from the mind, inquiry about the nature of the self ceases. Yoga-Sutra 4.25