Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered this advice on the nature of the mind:
“The mind is like dough, which means you can make it into any shape: emotional, non-emotional, happy, not happy.
“Mind is like a child, so you should become the parents, like the father and mother watching and guiding the child. If you follow the child, if you become the child, it makes you crazy. Then, you always create obstacles and life becomes suffering.
“Or you become the guru and the mind is like the disciple – you watch and guide it. Or you are like a spy. You should be like a spy with your mind, always watching and blocking it when it is being negative and doing harm. It is like spying on a political person, examining what the person is thinking and planning, whether the person is performing positive actions or negative actions.
“Also, it is like you are the captain and the mind is the boat. Or you are the driver and the mind is the car, so therefore you have to always watch the car, and pay attention that you are traveling on the right road.
“If you don’t behave like this, then you are controlled by the mind.”
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche, from the page on “Meditation Practice” in “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book,” part of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.