The wayward mind works in inscrutable ways and chases the objects of the world restlessly. This is because the senses are so made that they are attracted to the external world. Our thought is the most important factor governing our speech and actions. So it is essential to control our thought so that we can turn the focus of our senses inward.
Sri Ramakrishna often speaks of the contrary pulls that the Jivatma faces and in his songs to the Divine Mother he pleads for Her help to keep us aware and awake at all times so that we do not fall a prey to the evil thoughts that can undo us easily, said Swami Gautamananda in a lecture. To hang on to the truth behind the veil of Maya at all times is the most challenging of tasks.
Good and bad co-exist even as truth and falsehood play hide and seek. How easily is it possible to think that whatever is false is true? The beguiling power of Maya can even make poison appear as honey. This is our predicament. Though our inner being realises that human life is brief and temporary and the world is ephemeral, we tend to believe the converse.
Man's will is powerful and works as a double-edged sword. It has a dual power, a lower one when it hides the Self and a higher one that reveals the Self as the essence of consciousness. In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord says that man's will is the only friend of the Atma and his will is also the Atma's enemy. One should raise oneself by the Self and should not allow the Self to be lowered. Adi Sankara also states that the mind is the cause of man's bondage and also his liberation. When driven by the powers of desire it is the cause of bondage, and when free of worldly longings it is the cause of liberation. If the mind is freed from the clutches of desire it can lead us to the heights of spiritual experience.
Our ignorance (Avidya) makes us identify ourselves with the body, mind and intellect. We have the keys to liberation, yet our Karma makes us fall into the cycle of Samsara. Our leanings to the world and its attractions are strong. And because we have this longing for the world we are born again and again.