A distinctive feature of being human is our ability to “know that we know”. In other words, self-awareness. We know that we are here in the world having experiences. In addition, we have the ability to think. We can process incoming information from the senses into meaningful concepts that organize the information so we we can understand our surroundings. This gives us the ability to control those surroundings to the degree that they are controllable. For example, we know through our learning that we can build a shelter of a certain size and strength depending on the materials used in order to be protected from a storm. But we cannot control the storm. This ability to draw distinctions and integrate them into a picture of reality that functions accurately is our main way of remaining alive and living well.
All of this identifying, categorizing, structuring, integrating and conceptualizing happens in the mind. Every experience, perception, thought, and feeling is processed in your mind. It is the most important survival tool you possess since it is the one through which you are able to deal with living. In ancient India they placed such importance on mental functioning that is was considered a sixth sense in addition to the five we generally acknowledge. And it was placed at the top of the priority list since it was the organ that processed all the information coming from the other five. In other words, proper use of your mind is your most important survival skill.
It makes sense, therefore, to be very respectful of your mind and care deeply about what you put in it. This means to be careful about what ideas you accept, what books and articles you read, what movies and television you watch, what music you listen to. It also means care in the amount of mental activity and rest in which you engage. Do you strain the mind to the point of exhaustion? Do you constantly fill it with trivial information? Do you rest it on a regular basis by getting enough sleep? All these considerations come under the heading of respect for your mind. Once you recognize its overarching importance in your experience of life, and really feel this value, it is quite natural to treat it with great respect bordering on reverence.
This understanding will give you another motivation to meditate regularly. Meditation renews, refreshes and calms your all-important mind. To simply sit and be aware without engaging in active thought creates the space for your mind to naturally settle and rejuvenate. It also slowly brings it under control by allowing the scattered thinking process to become quieter and aware of itself.
Hopefully, you will care more deeply about how you treat your mind. By seeing its central importance in life, we become more careful about how treat this most precious aspect of ourselves.