I was working on some yoga and studying the ancient text the Katha Upanishad and came across this passage.
“Now, imagine the Self as the rider in a chariot.
The body is the chariot, the intellect the driver, and the mind the reins.
The senses are the horses and their objects are the road.
When combined with the senses and the mind, the Self becomes ‘the Enjoyer’ – so say those who know.
When a man lacks wisdom his mind is always restless, and his senses are wild horses dragging the driver this way and that.
But when he has become wise his mind is collected, and his sense-horses are tamed, obedient to the driver’s will.
He who lacks wisdom, whose mind is unsteady, whose actions are not pure, such a one never reaches the highest state and will suffer rebirth again and again.”
This passage seems to me to reflect well the causes of our “unsteady mind(s)” and “impure acts.” – which is can be the source of the harm we cause each other. Nobody is wise all the time.
So what to do about it? Sometimes we're simply too tired to gain control of the reins and steady our minds. We forget what we know and how to act on what we know. Sally Kempton in "Give Me Strength," tries to show us "how to tap into your most reliable support."