Jai Shri Hari!

Gaining control over our mind is directly linked to gaining control over our senses which simply means if we master our emotions we can remain calm and composed in any given difficult situations.

So, I thought of sharing with you an ancient Greek metaphor (The rider and the horse) mentioned in the book “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene which talks about mastering our emotions to make better decisions.

Let me first quote down what’s written in the book and then share with you my own perspective on this.

The horse is our emotional nature continually impelling us to move. This horse has tremendous energy and power, but without a rider it cannot be guided; it is wild, subject to predators, and continually
heading into trouble. The rider is our thinking self. Through training and practice, it holds the reins and guides the horse, transforming this powerful animal energy into something productive. The one without the other is useless. Without the rider, no directed movement or
purpose. Without the horse, no energy, no power. In most people the horse dominates, and the rider is weak. In some people the rider is too strong, holds the reins too tightly, and is afraid to occasionally let the
animal go into a gallop. The horse and rider must work together. This means we consider our actions beforehand; we bring as much thinking as possible to a situation before we make a decision. But once we decide what to do, we loosen the reins and enter action with boldness and a spirit of adventure. Instead of being slaves to this energy, we channel it. That is the essence of rationality.

As an example of this ideal in action, try to maintain a perfect balance between skepticism (rider) and curiosity (horse). In this mode you are skeptical about your own enthusiasms and those of others. You do not accept at face value people’s explanations and their application of “evidence.” You look at the results of their actions, not what they say about their motivations. But if you take this too far, your mind will close itself off from wild ideas, from exciting speculations, from
curiosity itself. You want to retain the elasticity of spirit you had as a child, interested in everything, while retaining the hard nosed need to verify and scrutinize for yourself all ideas and beliefs. The two can coexist. It is a balance that all geniuses possess.

Try to imagine our emotional self as a horse and our rational/thinking self as a rider. Both should work interdependently. Without the one other can’t survive. 

Just like there is a Secret of Good Meditation in which we balance between mental exertion and relaxation, we should thrive to balance between both our emotional and thinking self. 

We should learn to know when to let the horse free and when to control. That’s the job of the rider. 

In the previously shared analogy of Ratha Kalpana, it was a little complex to comprehend as many comparisons were involved between the senses, the mind, the intellect and the self. But in this Greek metaphor everything is made simplified.

Take an example of a situation where you are hurt by a person in the public. Now, you have two options: (either to react or respond)

a) Just throw out your pent up emotions as a form of anger on them and prove yourself right. (Let the horse free)

b) Just remain calm and move on. (Control the horse in a gentle way with the help of the rider)

In the above situation before you react, step back a moment and take your own time for thinking rationally. If there was nothing wrong with yourself then simply follow the advice of Buddha:

“O Venerable One!” Shariputra, his close disciple, said to Buddha, “how come your holiness said nothing? Did it not bother you?”

“If someone offers you a gift and you refuse to take it, to whom does it belong, Shariputra?”

“It will remain with the one who offered it, Master,” Shariputra replied after some thought.

“In much the same manner, my spiritual son, I refused verbal gifts of the
villagers,” Buddha added.

“How could I react to something that caused no
provocation, something I did not even accept?” 

From the book “A Million Thoughts”.

That’s the art of balancing both the rider and the horse.

And how can one do that?

Mindful contemplation can make both the rider and the horse stronger. It can only be done with continuous training and practice.

From now on everytime you are faced with a situation confused to take a decision, be mindful of both the rider and the horse. Don’t take a decision by listening to the horse (emotions – based on how you feel in the moment) which may always lead to problems in the future. Analyse with your thinking self (rider) for a few moments and come up with the decision.

Slowly master your emotions and you will master the mind in no time.

I am so sorry, if I had bored you with this long post!

If you wish to read about a story of pure devotion, you can then read it here.

Thank you.

Har Har Mahadev!