The faculty of thinking, the mind, is a continuous flow of various kinds thoughts like desire, will, intention, imagination, ideas and so on. While the body is the vehicle through which we transact with the world outside, the mind is the instrument of our experiences. It is the mind alone that performs all actions. For example, when the mind is dormant as in deep sleep or in a coma, we are incapable of any conscious action or interaction. The body is similar to the hardware and the mind is like the software of a computer.
Since the mind is the most sophisticated and delicate instrument, it should be handled with great care and caution. It is much better to understand its functioning rather than fight a losing battle with it. Always in search of happiness, the mind follows the senses into the world of objects and enjoys various experiences — TV shows, a dance or just window-shopping!
But, does happiness lie in the objects of the world? Is happiness the nature of objects? If it were so, they would give the same degree of happiness to all, at all times. In fact, we experience the law of diminishing returns — most things that we imagine to be “joy-giving”, eventually turn out to be disappointments.
To gain happiness we contact and acquire objects through the senses. What happens when we enjoy objects? When a certain desire is fulfilled, the mind temporarily becomes calm, which results in manifestation of happiness within. Unaware that the joy experienced was from within; we superimpose feelings of delight on the object. We are convinced the object made us happy and become attached to it.
Some people are attached to gross objects like food; others pursue the subtler joys of literature, music, and art. Yet others enjoy even subtler pursuits like meditation — all under the false notion that they are joy-giving. The more the joy superimposed, the greater the attachment. This causes dependence, possessiveness, jealousy and fear — leading to sorrow, tension and agitation.
Dependence is sorrow. We feel we cannot live without the objects. Having imagined happiness in them, we remain bound by the rope of attachment, like an animal leashed to a post. Only when this false notion is destroyed, is the mind detached and free.
How do we become free from attachments? Since the mind cannot remain without holding on to something, it is impossible to unhook it from objects without giving it a greater source of happiness. The mind usually pursues objects because of its likes and dislikes. The choiceless performance of one’s duties as worship of God frees it from their grip.
To such a purified mind absorbed in God, one’s divine nature is revealed. The person then is happy, liberated and fulfilled.