The Nature of the Mind.
What is the nature of the mind?
I once read a quote on a T-Shirt that went : "Your mind is too precious a thing to be left alone to wander."
Our Mind is an adventure seeker, it loves to explore new terrains.It hardly stays with us. To put a leash on it takes too much of an effort.yet we do try to put a leash on it,albeit very rarely.
I think it was the Buddha who said: "Watch every movement of your mind like you would watch a deadly cobra ,if you were locked up in a dark room with it."
The mind is easily influenced by material desires,and thinking patterns or to put it precisely dogmas. And if these desires are not fulfilled, or if someone else doesnt accept our thinking pattern/dogma/belief , inner conflict arrises. This inner conflict leads to lust,anger,greed,illusion and envy [kama, krodha, lobha, moha and matsarya].
Dont we regret all the stupid things we did and said when we were angry,or when we were filled with lust/envy/greed. Did we not ask ourselves later "Why did i not control myself". And this regret later manifests it self as depression in us. And we start wonder if all the (spiritual) practice we did was sincere or not? was it really useful? after all our efforts we made , ther is absolutely no progress at all?
All such unwanted thoughts and emotions enter,and more often than not succeed in shattering us inside.
All this is the work of a restless mind.
How did the mind become restless?
The following verse was what sparked an interest in me for the Bhagawad Gita [The Divine Song] .I had come accross it when i was learning Sanskrit [Samskritam] in High School.
Chanchalam hi manah Krishna pramathi balavad dridham;
Tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva suduskaram" [6:34 Bhagawad Gita]
"My dear Krishna , I think the mind is very restless, like a mad man. And it is very strong.I want to control the mind,but it does not come under my control.That is my Position. Therefore, although you are asking me to control the mind, I think that is more difficult than controlling the wind."
Asamshayam mahabaho mano durnigraham chalam;
Abhayasena tu kaunteya vairagyena cha grihyate." [6:35 Bhagawad Gita]
"Undoubtably, Oh Arjuna, the mind is indeed difficult to control and is restless; but ,by the repeated practice(of meditation) , O Arjuna,and by (renunciation and hence)detachment, it is restrained."
now of mediation i shall not speak much,as countless books have been written about it. It is of the second method that i would like to discuss.
In an earlier chapter of the Bhagawad-Gita, renunciation[sanyas] was defined as renunciation of:
(1) all clinging attachment to the object of the world, and
(2) lingering expectation for fruits-of-action.
These two are the main causes for agitation of thoughts,which again thicken the flood of the thought-flow,and make the mind uncontrollable.
"From the moment we start trying to become aware of our own lives, we are in the realm of 'practice'. As a result of this , the detachment from worldly objects that comes automatically to us is the true and enduring 'detachment'. All else is a sham show of stupid self-denial,which cramps a human being and distorts and perverts his intelligence into an ugliness riddled with hysterical ravings and bleeding with psychological ulcers
Let your attachment-with-things drop off ,on its own accord, as a result of your intellectual growth into higher planes of better understanding and truer estimation of things and beings, happenings and behaviors,occurrences and incidents in life"--- Swami Chinmayananda
The above advice from Swami Chinmayananda tells us how to take care of the first method,i.e of renunciation of all clinging attachments to the objects of the world. Now how do we practice the second method i.e, of renunciation of the lingering expectation for fruits-of-our-actions. now how can we accomplish this?
The Mind starts thinking of the fruits of our actions only when it projects it self into the future. When the mind is not present here.... The mind has a recurrent habit of dwelling in our past or in projecting itself into the future. how can we control this?.... this can only be controlled though the act of mindfulness. Through mindfulness we can anchor our mind in the present moment,and not allow it to project itself into the future.
Once an Old woman came to the Buddha and said that she wanted always to be with the Buddha, but she had a household to take care of and was always busy with domestic-work. The Buddha replied " Do not worry, Do as i say after you return home. Everyday , no matter what you are doing, feel your hands. when you are washing clothes,feel the water flowing gently through your hands. when you are drawing a bucket of water from the well, feel the strain the rope is exerting on your hands. When you are cooking meals, feel the warmth of the fire in your hands. Always be in such a state,for that is where i am,and you shall not be far from me at all."
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