Based on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 02, Text 58
When we travel regularly along a pothole-filed road, we carefully avoid the potholes and thus save ourselves of unnecessary jolts.
By analogy, when the Bhagavad-gita (2.58) urges us to avoid unnecessary contact of our senses with the sense objects, it guides us to avoid mental potholes, the stimuli that jolt us mentally in our daily routine. For example, some billboards along our daily commute may incite lust or greed within us, thereby disrupting our mental balance. By planning and practice, we can train ourselves to avoid these mental potholes and thereby save ourselves of unnecessary mental jolts.
Avoiding physical potholes comes naturally to us, but avoiding mental potholes requires conscious training. Why? Because we need to overcome three default attitudes that work against us.
1. Inattention: Though we usually notice what causes us physical comfort or discomfort, we don’t always notice what causes us mental comfort or discomfort. By taking brief introspective breaks periodically, we can observe our mental state and thereby identify the stimuli that act as mental potholes for us.
2. Illusion: Physical potholes are obviously unpleasant, but mental potholes seem deceptively pleasant; they titillate us. To see through their deception, we need to remind ourselves that the titillation is only momentary and is followed by a much longer period of agitation.