Any impulse arising in an animal throws its mind into a convulsion. Then it must find an immediate expression in an action. Then, that impulse dies away. That is the nature of animal behavior.
But, in the case of a human being, when he or she has not started training the mind, very often this is the behavior; when we were primitive, we were doing like this. Though even then, a certain calmness had come to the human system, because nature had provided for it, that every sensory input will be observed, then passed on as a motor output. Even the most ordinary men have a little gap between input and output.
Just put a little stop between input and output. Suppose, somebody abuses me; immediately I abuse back. Don’t do so; that means you are an animal – an automaton, as we say. We always say action and reaction are equal and opposite. That is the mechanical law. But in the case of human beings, it can be altered.
If the action is one unit, reaction can be ten units, or it can be no unit. That shows you are free. When life appears on the horizon of evolution, even in a very elementary form, freedom also appears.
There is no other definition of freedom.You are not merely a creature of some external circumstance. You regulate your reaction.
As soon as you start regulating your reaction, you have started achieving your humanness. Then the march inward is unique. You are handling your own mind. You are creating a sense of calmness within. Great achievements will come thereby.
Human evolution begins with the achievement of this balancing of the mind between a sensory input and a motor output. That must be strengthened more and more. We shall come across this subject again and again, because the whole subject of the Gita is the training of this human mind for total human development by handling this world around it, and by handling oneself also in a masterly way.
– Swami Ranganathananda, Source: Universal Message of The Bhagavad Gita