This is the first part of a new series where we explore the all-important subject of:
- who is actually in control of and is directing my life; and
- why that is important.
We will be taking an in-depth look at how the science of mind-control was developed by the advertising industry and further developed and exponentially enhanced by Big Tech to take control of your mind and desires, so as to exploit you financially.
Within the context of the yoga system – when I am simply following the desires or emotions within the mind, it means one has become a “victim” of their own mind.
A real yogi is one who utilizes their mind as an instrument or tool to achieve a higher end. In the series we will explore this point in some detail.
Some of the quotes I used:
“The individual is the passenger in the chariot of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers.” Katha Upanisad 1.3.3-4
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence. Bhagavad-gita 3.42
One must deliver themself with the help of one’s mind, and not degrade themself. 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, his mind will remain the greatest enemy. Bhagavad-gita 6.6
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. SB 5.11.17
For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success. That is My opinion. Bhagavad-gita 6.36
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So tonight we’re going to start a new series. It’s called, or the series is going to be called, Who Controls Your Mind? In this series we’re going to be exploring the all-important subject of who is actually in control of and directing your life, and why that is important. So we’ll be taking an in-depth look at how the science of mind control was developed by the advertising industry and further developed and exponentially enhanced by Big Tech in order to take control of your mind and desires, so as to exploit you financially. That may sound like a massive claim. And some people may instantly have a reaction to it, like this is some huge exaggeration, but I assure you that it is not. And we will sort of dig into this and take it apart.
The impetus for this series was a number of things. Some of the pronouncements that Mark Zuckerberg has been making in relation to the “metaverse” and the desire to try and have everybody, or at least a substantial portion of the world’s population, living in or frequently visiting this metaverse. One technology commentator, in an article (which we’ll talk about at some point), wrote an article titled Mark Zuckerberg wants to become your landlord, and that’s not just a throwaway line; the idea of somebody having you move into their property and you becoming, therefore, a continuous source of money when you pay your rent every week or every month. And that same principle is being explored by this particular writer in a quite far out way.
And another impetus, of course, for the study, was a couple of things. One is the growing epidemic of mental health. This—it’s a crisis, this mental health crisis, particularly amongst younger people, how pervasive it has become, and really what’s behind it. So that; and a friend of mine shared with me a study from New Zealand, and it contained results from surveys that were conducted in 2018-2019, which is already three years ago, so we should imagine that things are probably not improved and have in fact become worse.
And something that was interesting was, in the very beginning of this study there was a declaration, and the declaration was that, “Mental health and well-being is paramount to the overall health of New Zealanders.” And of course, since it was written for a New Zealand audience, it doesn’t mean that what’s been stated here is only to do with people living in New Zealand. This is the way that almost all governments, particularly in the Western world, the developed world, look at things. And the statement that mental health and well-being is paramount to overall health is kind of like, whoa! that’s a big statement, when you consider the word paramount meaning more important than anything else. This is a dictionary definition, that it is more important than anything else, or it is supreme, paramount. So people take the subject seriously. However we will question whether people are utilizing the right perspectives and the right tools to address this issue.
So the thing that really startled me was some of the key findings. First,
“Young people,” (meaning people aged 15 to 24 years old) “Young people were more likely than older age groups to report having a long-term emotional, psychological or psychiatric condition that either causes difficulty doing everyday activities people of their age can usually do, or causes difficulty communicating, mixing with others or socializing.”
When I read that, of course, it instantly reminded me of, I watched this woman who was interviewed, young woman, and how she became an avid gamer. And the way that she supported herself was to constantly be playing online 10, 12, 15 hours a day, with streaming video of her playing, her commentary, her observations, and how people would subscribe to watch her play and how she dealt with different situations, her comments, her feedback, and all of this type of thing. And then she got to this point in her life where she recognized that this was a significant problem, because she was on line like every day, and so she would order online, food, groceries, things that she personally needed, and it got to the point where she said she could not even go to the door when somebody was delivering a pizza, she was so freaked out about interacting with the delivery person. And so she would just like hide inside, because it’s already paid for; and they would just leave it at the door, and she would watch when they left, then she would open the door and get the food.
And then when she went through this withdrawal from all of this activity, and just venturing outside into the street she was terrified of interacting with people just on the street, what they were thinking about her, what they were observing. You just go through this weird space. And then trying to go into a store and buy things and interact with the cashier was utterly traumatizing.
And I agree this is rather extreme, and everybody is not in that state. However if the process, meaning the activity of engaging this way online, produces this natural outcome, then everybody is going to be somewhere on this scale of being able to relate to family members and friends and other people at work and whatever in the world in general to different degrees. So here in this report we’re talking about how younger people were reporting this enormous reluctance to engage socially in different ways.
So reading further on, now drilling down into it said,
“One third (that is 33%) of all the 15 to 17 year olds that were interviewed, and 25% of 18 to 24 year olds reported difficulty doing everyday activities that people their age can normally do, caused by a long-term emotional psychological or psychiatric condition.”
So young people, one in three, one out of every three, and for people a little bit older, 18 to 24, it was one in four, one out of every four people that was interviewed expressed this difficulty that had been caused by psychological or psychiatric conditions. That’s phenomenal!
“One third (or it’s actually over one third) 35 % of 15 to 17 year olds and 28 % of 18 to 24 year olds reported difficulty communicating, mixing with others or socializing, caused by a long-term emotional, psychological or psychiatric condition.”
I mean this is like—this is a crisis. This is a huge, huge crisis, where in such a short period of time this profound transformation is taking place in society. And you can see the contrast when they look at—they compare it to older people. And old here wasn’t that old. When they looked at the group of people between 25 to 64, 10 % of them, 1 in 10, and of people that were over 65 years old, only 7 % of them “reported having conditions that affected their everyday activities. Similar proportions were reported for conditions that affected their communicating or socializing with others.”
So it’s kind of like, well, what’s going on here? If people think it’s only an age thing, meaning as you grow older you kind of get over this stuff, you sort of move past it, you naturally develop more resilience, no, that’s not true. What we’re seeing here is a clear distinction that will largely be attributed to people’s lifestyle choices, the idea of what’s important to me, what I see as being the purpose in my life.
I mean we have this horrible situation where people have become so, so shallow. I mean you’ve got these—I first noticed it—my daughter showed me these people in Korea where subscribers watch them, and they order take-out food that gets delivered to their house, and then they sit down there with this whole array of food, and they just start eating it, and they don’t really—like it’s not like they’re making critiques of things. They’re just either enjoying it, or it’s not that good, or whatever, and people are just watching them eat. It’s like where is your head at?
I mentioned in last week’s talk (I think it was last week) about how when Instagram and Facebook were shutting their operations in Russia after the Russia invaded Ukraine, and they gave people notice, about a week’s notice or five days notice that they were stopping this service, they had weeping influencers—weeping, actually weeping, traumatized that now they weren’t going to be able to share their life with their followers, and what are they going to do? I mean their actual purpose for existence was to share their hollow and superficial life and experiences with a bunch of stupid people, and I say that not in a critical way, as a reality.
I mean if you are finding your fulfillment in life, your purpose is in just ogling, rubbernecking, sticking your nose into other people’s business and watching their different experiences and traumas, you don’t have a life. I’m sorry if that’s a bit critical but it’s true. You don’t have a life. Instead of you living a meaningful life you have become absorbed in a person who is absolutely hollow and shallow.
And the shutting down of the Instagram and Facebook, and the fact that these people wouldn’t be big stars with lots of followers, where they were deriving all of their so-called fulfillment and happiness—the fact that they’re crying, I mean heartbroken, crying, not knowing what they’re going to do now, what’s going to happen. “I won’t be able to share my life with—” just like, oh my God, what—you don’t have a life. There is nothing meaningful going on if this is the state that you are in.
So the things that we are going to talk about, they are real, they are deeply affecting everybody on some level or other, with very few exceptions. And asking this question is like—of, who’s actually in control of my life and my mind? Who’s running it? And what—why, is that an important question to ask? So this is what we’ll be digging into.
Now, today in our talk I just want to dig into a little bit, some of foundational things, foundational truths, things that we’ve spoken about a lot before. And so for people that have heard this, this messaging, this spiritual messaging, it’s to your benefit to hear it again. I mean it always amazes me when I have the experience of being asked to help someone or offer some directional guidance, and people going through different sorts of things in their life, the highs and the lows, and especially when somebody’s been through a very traumatic episode in their life, quite often self-induced or caused; and now you speak to them some of these simple truths, and it’s like it’s mind-blowing. It’s like, “Oh my Gods, now I get it. I had heard this before. I agreed with it. I accepted it as being true, but I didn’t really understand it in relation to my life, and what I’m going through.” So these fundamental spiritual principles that shape how we are going to address things are of critical importance.
And so as I said, tonight we will just go through some of these principles so that we build a framework. And part of the reason I’m doing this, although we’ve spoken about some of these things so many times before, this is going to be like a stand-alone series. And there will be people that come along and visit and look at it and listen to it, and they have not had the benefit of exposure to some of these ideas before. So whether you are a newbie just showing up to hear these things, or a person that has been on this journey for some time and has heard them a number of times, these truths are so universal and foundational and important it’s not possible to hear them too many times.
Within the context of the yoga system this condition that we’re speaking about, in this study, how people are having such a hard time socially and in so many different ways due to psychiatric or mental or emotional psychological conditions, in the yoga system this experience would collectively be referred to as a person becoming a victim of their mind, to become victimized by the mind. And that’s a startling idea. It’s a startling idea for somebody that’s never thought about it or really considered it, because it challenges the very premise for our life. We hold things certain things to be true, and quite often we have adopted ideas or values or truths rather uncritically, just because it’s commonly held by my friends and people that I know, my social group, because it’s promoted by movie stars and rock icons or political leaders. Because somebody has promoted it I’ve automatically trusted that to be true. So we’re going to challenge some of these ideas.
The truth is, from the yogic perspective, that much unhappiness that people experience in this world actually comes from the uncontrolled mind. Whoa! What a massive statement: an uncontrolled mind. Again this is challenging, because people have developed this idea (and this idea has largely been fed to people by those that want to exploit them) that freedom means being able to think anything and follow your mind anywhere it goes, and that means that you’re actually free, whereas from the yogic perspective they challenged that idea.
Many of the things that people refer to, and I’m not saying all, but many of the things that people refer to as mental health issues, from the yogic perspective are not mental health issues but the result of not being in the driver’s seat in your life. Instead of you controlling your mind you become controlled by that mind. And we see it, I mean, when we deal with teaching mindfulness, where we encourage that people in heightened states of emotions should not engage verbally or physically, that one should not speak, act, make decisions, these things should be done from a calm place. If my mind has become rocked, my emotions, my number one responsibility is to step away, disengage and calm down, and once I am calm, once I am not ravaged by emotional things going on in my mind I need to question, “How should I deal with this situation? How should I address it? How should I respond? What should be my words? What should be my course of action?” And that should be determined by what’s in my best interest.
When people become overly influenced by the mind and all the emotions there, then impulse control usually becomes highly problematic. Along with that people are often experiencing a lack of tolerance, not even considering that that is important or significant; and therefore they cannot act in a way that actually improves their life. They will frequently act in a way that will bring them much more unhappiness.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my initiating spiritual master, he said that the purpose of yoga practice is to control the senses and the mind, and of course, that is in order for a person to find peace and happiness. If you are simply constantly reacting to what’s going on in the mind, and that’s driving your life, you are in a precarious situation, and you cannot find peace and happiness in that condition. The real yogi is one who utilizes their mind—whoa, that’s a heavy statement: they utilize their mind as an instrument or tool to achieve a higher end.
So in this series, we’re really going to explore this principle or this point in some detail, but I ask you to take that one on board. It’s a big thing, “that a real yogi is one who utilizes their mind as an instrument or tool to achieve a higher end.”
So according to the principles of yoga, what they describe as being the material condition, as opposed to the spiritual condition, the material condition is the state in which the mind is in the driver’s seat, and I am a helpless passenger subjected to the whims of an uncontrolled mind.
“But I thought this person was really going to love me.” I mean I can use limitless examples. “I thought I could trust this person.” “I thought this person was my friend.” If I do not use my discretion and seek to control my mind and utilize it for a higher purpose then I will be a victim of my mind. I will be subject to its whims and be forced to follow it through all kinds of trauma and traumatic events and great sadness.
So in the modern world the understanding of me, me, I, the self, is what I often refer to as, a two-dimensional paradigm. People regard the body to be their identity and who they are, and the mind to be a functioning part of that identity. And many of the approaches to psychiatry only really look at these two dimensions, the body and the mind. The bigger picture as taught by the Vedas clearly distinguishes the difference between the body and mind, and the self. So the most foundational teachings of the yoga system is this, what I sometimes refer to as a three-dimensional paradigm, the body, the mind, and the self. We understand that the self, you are an eternal spiritual being, and you are covered by two bodies: a subtle body that’s primarily made up of the mind, and the gross physical body. Both of these coverings we identify with as being me, and who I am.
So I’m just going to reference a wonderful sloka, or verse, in one of the Upanisads, the Katha Upanisad, speaking to this point. They say,
“The individual is the passenger in the chariot of the material body, and the intelligence is the driver. The mind is the driving instrument [meaning the reins], and the senses [the sense of touch, smell, taste, hearing] the senses are the horses, The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and the senses. So it is understood by great thinkers.”
This same principle is reinforced in the Bhagavad-gita. In the 3rd chapter it states in a verse that,
“The working senses are superior to dull matter; [meaning the material energy] the mind is higher than the senses; and intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.”
So this intelligence that’s been referenced here is a faculty that forms part of the subtle body. It’s not a question of your IQ or your ability to engage in logical thinking or science or mathematics or anything. It is a faculty that makes it so even when a person, for instance, is in a state of absolute fear or tremendous anger, in a condition where they are overwhelmed by some emotional state, and you hear a little voice I think is the way it’s often described, a little voice that says, “Don’t say that,” or “Don’t do that. Don’t go there,” but you do it anyway, that faculty that makes it so you can actually step back, and at that time make a decision, “Okay, I gotta shut this down and step away from it. I need to calm down, because we’re not going anywhere with this argument. We’re not behaving rationally or logically. I need to disengage and think about how to best approach things.” This is actually how mindfulness is really applied, and the capacity to do that is because of this faculty, which in Sanskrit is called buddhi, or intelligence.
So here we have this new paradigm, this idea that, okay, my mind is not me, and I should be directing it and utilizing it, not that I should be just sitting back and surrendering to it and wherever it’s going and whoever’s leading it to different places that I should be just passively surrendered to that and following it. The idea that that is what—how I should live, is rejected by the great yogis. The great yogis want you to become empowered and to—for you to be taking charge of your life, for you to be in control of your life.
This relationship that I’m speaking of, between the mind and the self, you, the actual person, the spiritual being within that relationship was really important to understand and to use, to decide how I am going to live, how I am going to make decisions. When one doesn’t have a relationship like that, but rather is just utterly surrendered to their mind and not choosing to exercise control over the mind and direct the mind, then one is known as a victim. The mind is considered, in that state, to be uncontrolled. Nobody’s controlling it. It’s just doing its own thing.
So in the Bhagavad-gita it describes the situation that,
“One must deliver themself with the help of one’s mind, and not degrade themself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.”
That just like whoa, the idea that my mind could be my friend, or it could be my enemy is pretty amazing. When people have not learned about their spiritual identity, and they are surrendered to their mind, then there is the tendency that whatever the mind thinks I accept as being true. If the mind declares that this is desirable or this is what you need then I think that’s what I need. If the mind declares that this person is my enemy or this principle I hate it, then I feel like, “Yeah, that’s my enemy,” or, “I hate that.”
In the next verse it says,
“For one who has conquered the mind [whoa! conquered the mind!] the mind is the best of friends but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”
In relation to those stats that we mentioned or read from that survey on mental health in New Zealand it is considered that when the mind exists in a state of hypersensitivity and a hyper—or a heightened emotional state, whether they be positive or negative emotions (what people consider positive or negative) in that condition there is no awareness of the truth that I am an eternal spiritual being. People have—they just don’t have that concept. They are utterly lost in the physical being and the mental being, and so when the mind is feeling fearful, they’re feeling fearful, they’re feeling distressed by interaction with others or feeling envy or insecurities or tremendous depression, and in these conditions there is no awareness of the fact that I am an eternal spiritual being, different from my mind and different from my body.
And so when one becomes, as it stated here, when one has failed to conquer the mind, the mind will remain the greatest enemy–greatest enemy because it will reinforce the false concept that the body is me, and the mind is me. That is directly contrary to the actual interests of the spiritual being, the person within.
In the Bhagavata Purana there’s a pretty amazing verse which I’ll quote here:
“The uncontrolled mind is the greatest enemy of the living entity.”
And I’m just going to reference that woman that I mentioned earlier, a professional gamer who lived from the subscriptions of people watching her, and how living that life had so tragically affected her to the point where she could not even answer the door or speak to anyone in public. She couldn’t make eye contact with people, all these things that she was talking about, in that state there is zero awareness of my actual spiritual identity, who I truly am.
“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. And although it is not factual it is very strong. It covers the constitutional position of the actual self, or atma.”
So when it states here it is not factual means that it has no eternal existence, whereas you the living being does have, or you are possessed of eternal existence. And so this mind which is running my life and determining my interactions, determining what I perceive to be the purpose of my life and everything, this thing is not eternal. It is a temporary condition. It is a temporary experience, and I will move on from this situation in due course of time.
Speaking to this point again, of the need to be the one in the driver’s seat, the one to be in control of your life and your mind and body rather than being subservient or enslaved by it.
“For one whose mind is unbridled,” in this reference to unbridled is what you—the facial harness that you put on the horse and the bit that goes in the mouth which is used for directing the horse. So,
“For one whose mind is unbridled self-realization is difficult work.”
So what is self-realization? It means for me to discover the reality of my spiritual existence, who I actually am. You know the material condition is not a condition of self-realization. It’s a condition of ignorance, of being covered, the actual self being lost to me.
“For one whose mind is unbridled self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success.”
So these are wonderful spiritual principles, and we will be examining these truths, or principles, within the context of modern life. We’re going to be looking at how Big Tech and media are engaged in a monumental battle for your attention. People, when they pick up a device and start searching, we think, we actually think that we’re in control of what we’re doing. We don’t understand that there is a gigantic array of supercomputers on the other side of the screen that is monitoring how I’m reacting to what I’m seeing and is trying to lead me in certain ways.
It’s just like when people play chess, and you have a super computer that’s been programmed with every conceivable move, and even a very good chess player sits down against a super computer, you can’t win. You’re not going to win. You can’t beat it. This is not just a phone or a device. You are connected to an array of these things that have been programmed to take control of your attention. And just by engaging with it you are unknowingly engaged in a monumental battle for your attention.
People are unaware of how behavioural design specialists (I mean what a terminology—behavioural design specialists! These are people that specialise in studying your behaviour and doing things that will cause you to behave in a certain way) behavioural design specialists, how they’re engaged to actually keep you trapped within this world that they are creating. They say they are creating it for you, but it’s actually for them; that these behavioural design specialists are almost entirely responsible for the current mental health epidemic plaguing the younger sector of our society, and only because the younger sector of our society are infinitely more dependent upon these devices.
I mean whether it’s a simple thing like card games or puzzles or whatever, there has been a huge amount of effort put into designing things to keep you engaged, only for the purpose of exploiting you. Primarily they just take the information, your profiles, how you react to things, and they sell it to other people who then target you in different ways.
So this question of who actually controls your mind is really, really important. And I think, at this period in time, unlike anything before in history, it is really important to be aware and to think about this: who actually is controlling my mind and the way in which I make decisions? and what will be the consequence the outcome of these things?
So next week we’ll continue with this. I hope that you find this important. It’s definitely interesting but it’s critically important, particularly with the subject of self-realization, finding real purpose and meaning in one’s life rather than being a helpless animal just reacting to all this mental stimulation.
Thank you very much. And invite you to join with me in a kirtan meditation. This is the means to bring about realization. This is the means by which we develop clarity, by which we develop a clearer sense of purpose and dignity. There is no dignity in being enslaved by Big Tech and just reacting to all this stuff. There is no dignity, there is no fulfillment in that. So the mantra I will use to begin with is the Haribol Nitai-Gaur mantra.