To start off, life drives everyone crazy but there are life skills that can be learned.
Okay, let’s do a small excercise.
Remember a time when your body was down sick. Try remembering how you felt when your body was unable to act to your needs.
Remember how weak you felt when your body had to depend upon some body else. Remember how that time went slow and with that how you felt your recovery was close to impossible.
Remember? you told yourself that even this shall pass. Remember how you needed some body to validate that for you.
Do you remember?
I do 🙂 That is the effect our body has on our mind and it’s true. But you do remember however long and tiring that time may had been, you did tell yourself that even this shall pass.
Because you knew life has to flow and with that the weakness too has to disappear.
Regardless of how faint that thought of recovery been, you still knew there was hope. Because nothing can stay still here. Although we forget to remember the same when something makes us too happy.
And that is exactly what Gita in chapter 2, 14th verse reminds us to remember that anything that makes its appreance has to disappear one day. Agaama Apaayina Anithyaah.
Gita says, Endure them- anything that appears has to disappear. Pleasure or sorrow is alike w.r.t. it’s brief duration. Because they are transitory, like travellers. Those travellers can be emotions/moods, the sense objects, the body or the mind.
They may give you pleasure or may make you totally sick to your stomach. Yet, remember that everything that appears has to disappear too. Can life overwhelm you then? Yeah, it is true it doesn’t come overnight.
Two words, practice and discipline. If you somehow get yourself to understand that any object that comes in contact with your sense organs have to resonate in either of the above said two ways. And neither of them are going to stay then life will not drive you crazy 😜
nāsti buddhir-ayuktasya na chāyuktasya bhāvanā na chābhāvayataḥ śhāntir aśhāntasya kutaḥ sukham// 2,66
But an undisciplined person, who has not controlled the mind and senses, can neither have a resolute intellect nor steady contemplation on God. For one who never unites the mind with God there is no peace; and how can one who lacks peace be happy?
We might have heard this adage “You can do anything you set your mind to” but he observed this with all his heart, his entire life.
He pretty much experimented on everything before he imbibed anything into his life: food, diet, religion, morals, principles, God, ideals, celibacy- you name it.
But one aspect of his life was much frowned upon, his experiments with celibacy. 70 years have passed since he left his body yet the most talked about or published work today is this grey side of his life.
Is it really grey? All our lives are lived in this grey, isn’t it? Although we don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others but that is the truth. But I think he cared less of what others thought of him or his experiments.
It looked like he wanted to prove it to himself that he had that self-restraint necessary to control his body and mind. Although he realized the body-mind connect well.
śhaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śharīra-vimokṣhaṇāt kāma-krodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ//5, 23
Those persons are yogis, who before giving up the body are able to WITHSTAND the forces of desire and anger; and they alone are happy
What do I admire about him?
He cared less about any titles that were bestowed upon him
He rejoiced when he overcame his weaknesses. He worked on himself.
He penned down most of his thoughts, wild or otherwise.
His book revealed an ordinary person with vices, who was bent upon converting them into virtues.
He stood as a role model for many, for his ideologies went through severe grilling.
He was not a Conformist. love, love that 🙂
What I failed to understand is this? (from his book and other works on him)
That why suppress an urge; restraint is fine and that too should come comfortably with understanding. (for example, it only becomes easy to handle a teenager when you have the knowledge of how it is to be one, right? With that knowledge you could take control )
Why was he bent upon making the body work against its mechanism? When we think of tamarind, our mouth salivate. It is a natural phenomena with all body fluids.
In attempts to suppress, he unknowingly gave it more room and energy. Overthinking can make them surface more often than not.( for example ‘don’t think about a pink elephant’ phenomena)
Why didn’t the idea “You are not the body but the Spirit” relieve him of his anguish. That every thought instills peace in a layman person as me. Maybe that is because I am playing it safe without taking any risks. Possible possible 😁
Bhagavad Gita on Ironic Rebound
Indriyāṇāṁ hi charatāṁ yan mano ’nuvidhīyate tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi//2, 67
Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its chartered course on the water, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can lead the intellect astray.
However, like any other Indian, I am in complete awe of this man who let his heart lead his life. Who showed us how difficult yet necessary it is to restrain our worldly senses. Who successfully implemented concepts like ‘Ahimsa’ in utter chaotic situations. He was and is a leader that are rare to come by.
These are a few interesting things that you may notice if at all you are on this journey.
Mind is a great talker but a bad listener:
It can talk us into anything if we allow it to. Don’t go with the talk, it will quieten a bit and let it enjoy the silence. Poor thing, it has never tasted it, trust me, it will like it.
The biggest challenge is to cement the idea that you are not the body
The mind after much probing would admit that it is not the body but it takes time to digest the idea. It has to identify with something. Its job is to make sense of things and if we leave it without identity, it’s gonna go crazy. That is why the scriptures or seers or Gita suggests us to believe that we are Atman, for want of a better word.
Now it thinks it is Atman, so it tries to understand what this ‘Atman’ is. Then it learns a little more about it- that it exists everywhere and in everything. I mean, we are building a thought process around something Whole & United.
If you keep with it and keep at it then the old habits will drop, new wholesome identities will form. In everything, it will see itself. For example, when it sees another person, it will see itself (the mind) operating behind that person. When it sees a piece of wooden furniture, it will see the wood more clearly now; water in the ice more clearly.
Mind looses all its learning when in Love more than in Hatred
They are right when they say we lose our mind when we are in love. It forgets who it is; all the new habits go out of the window. All discipline is out, it acts like a teenager.
Yeah, that is all nice but it is important for it to remember who it is even then. How can that happen? It only happens if we constantly keep feeding that idea and trying to see that mind operating behind whoever we are interacting with.
So when it goes crazy, it will remind itself and will try to get some hold before it goes haywire 😉
Detachment does not mean being mean
Just because we are not the body does not mean that we have to suppress its needs. I have seen people do that but we can go easy on that. Don’t overdo it.
The idea that we are not the body does not mean to demean it. Our body is like another belonging; it is not us. Try to strike a balance.
Exercise as normal, dress as you do, do whatever chores you do regularly with it. The Guru or Gita is not preaching the body but the mind. The mind has to adorn fewer thoughts around the body- that’s the point.
Mind resists familiar societal ideas when building new ones
It is something that we have to keep in mind that it will resist what it is changing. Let me give you an example, I was trying to see reform in my old ways, one being God is not someone to be afraid of. Like many, I have been raised with the idea that idol worship makes God happy and vice-versa.
Then I met somebody who asked me if God had no other business other than punishing the ones who don’t follow him. He said God is everywhere and being respectful to everything here is respecting him. And I wanted to practice that but out of fear and habit, I used to still bow down in confusion. Please don’t read me wrong, I’m not saying bowing down is wrong but out of fear or by habit is meaningless.
And, what he said made sense; God cannot be like us, right? So I decided to practice it and I started saying a prayer anywhere, not necessarily before the prayer room. Also, I replaced my silly prayers with a Shanti mantra instead. People will notice and you’ll get an eye roll and all but that’s okay. What I am trying to tell here is this- when the mind makes a change, it is going to look drastic initially, later it will learn to be that within and perform things outside. Till then give it time.
Just saying “I am Atman” will not make us one
It is all contemplation and practice. We are not trying to prove a point to anybody here, neither are we trying to put others beliefs down.
We are experimenting with the truth so we got to flow like a river. Everybody here is trying to do the same in some fashion or the other. We are not here to judge them. If we are not a river we will never learn and we can never flow to the ocean. So the mind should keep flowing in that direction and it will find its way to its source.
Should I not just attain nirvana, when I am under a tree or on a rock? Does it need work?
No, it doesn’t need work. But when the mind is only focussed on the world then shifting its focus might need your attention.
We generally ask questions as to when and where have a seeker attained samadhi. But what we should be asking is what his journey was like before he attained that state. What was his state of mind? That particular rock or tree hasn’t spoken to him neither is it going to talk to us, it was his mind which attained nirvana. That state of mind is what we should be interested in.
Knowing that would do us some good. Nobody attains anything just like that. Their journey should have started when the world alone left them empty inside. And that’s more riveting than when and where 🙂
Longing for a thing will only come to an end when we finally understand that the ‘Thing’ is neither us nor it is going to last forever. That ‘Thing’ can be our body, our people, our wealth, or whatever vapid that we are pining for.
Until this gets into our head, neither will the longing stop nor the desire to amass things will end. We can talk and write infinite things around it, but we can never put a step further from where we stand.
Worry Not, for the mind can still operate without attributing ‘IT’ to be whatever it has been falsely taught it is. In fact, it can guide us better when ‘IT’ realizes that it is not the one who is performing the feats. Really. You have to experience that to believe it.
The problem with us is that we keep running as if there is a finish line. But do we see one? Has anyone who ran before us seen it? Nevertheless, we keep running and panting till we crash.
With racing, we conveniently stopped thinking and thereby adding layers of personalities around one poor mind. It now carries a lot of baggage of varied characteristics that not only commands its attention but also consumes its energy while protecting them.
But what if we could take a moment and think whether we are as complex as we made ourselves to be. Is there another way of running the race? or Are we really in a race?
Why do I not see a finish line? What am I running for? How much ever I run and whatever trophies I had won, had it made me happy? Has that happiness lasted?
I think sometimes it is better to stop and ask these. We are so consumed in this run, that at times we end up destroying others dreams on the way. All because of our wrong identifications and blindly conforming to whatever we were told.
It is really something that we should ponder upon.
And, an interesting chapter in Gita on the same subject:
Idaṁ śharīraṁ kaunteya kṣhetram ity abhidhīyate
etad yo vetti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣhetra-jña iti tad-vidaḥ//B.G 13.2
O Arjuna, this body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.
“Spirituality” we use this word very often; donno what meaning we attach when we utter this.
It is as corrupted and over-used as the other commonly used words like love, consciousness, awareness. But here we are using this to describe the experience of something other than our physical & psychological bodies. Okay, let’s leave it at that.
Hmmm…So, do you think spirituality can happen to this ever confused piece of brilliance?
Brilliance? It is. When we call a man successful, maybe the spouse wasn’t really behind that success. It should be his/her mind, isn’t it?
It is this one which observes both the world and the sense organs. It sees through the eyes, hears through the ears, feels through the skin, tastes through the tongue and smells through the nose.
It is also the one who feels the utmost pain and unexplainable joy.
It is also the one which couldn’t explain its disappearance in deep sleep.
It is also the same one who thinks he is bounded or liberated.
It is also the one which detests or admires its own creation-the Thoughts
It is also the one which sees itself as an object of investigation in meditation.
It is also the one who realizes that it is also been observed observing.
It is the same one which is seeking freedom from imagined bondage.
It is this mind which turns spiritual and inward. And you can be sure when it stops being that haggering partner, doesn’t do a confused tail wagging, sees no value in purposeless imitation and absolutely no point in embracing identities.
Look, either we embrace ever damn identity or nothing. We err by being selective and the effect of that is us having to choose between joy or distress. If we get what we desire, we are happy that moment otherwise we are sad, right?
Then, do we have a choice?
Absolutely! We just have to stop being selective. Every act that we put up here is learned, isn’t it? So can we not try to build a new habit by practicing to see everything as is. That is what I understand by detachment. And that needs practice. (Abyasam & Vairagyam).
So ask your mind. Is ‘IT’ willing to turn inward?
From the Internet:
“Rupam drishyam lochanam drig, tad drishyam drig tu manasam; Drishya dhivrittayah sakshi, drig eva na tu drishyate”
Drig drishya viveka(verse 1) Adi Shankarachaya
“Form is observed, the eye is the observer. That(eye) is the observed, the mind is the observer. Mental activities are observed, the witness is the observer. But that observer is not observed”.
From then on, made a conscious effort to watch my thoughts- the thoughts that stole my concentration away from whatever I was doing. I was not always successful – it takes a lot of energy to process the things which have been to set to automation.
Only good thing that came out of this process is my understanding of some of the inessentials that I kept thinking. Or the ones that I taught my mind to be essentials by constantly thinking about them when not required. I mean, they are information but the only problem is that they were running unconsciously without me recalling it.
And my understanding about Mindlessness is to be a thought less state. We all experience that state in meditation or in deep sleep. But when the body is actively working the mind should be present there but unlike the body, it does multitask.
This is what I understand that we’re doing- programming it to slowly destroy us and then blaming it. We do not even know where is it localized and we are treating it. It can be numbed but it cannot be cured by medications alone. I think more than any kind of education, this is very important. We should know how to run it rightly. We are just doing it all wrong.
We should teach the kids. They haven’t yet accumulated all the trash that we have. We should teach them to employ mindfulness as an instrument to declutter.
Verses from Srimad Bhagavad Gita:
Chapter 2, verse 62 and Chapter 3, 40-42
Bhagavad Gita strongly recommends you to search the breeding grounds of desire. Desire enters us when we are attached to something. And attachment because of contemplation on sensory objects. We should remember that overthinking leads to a cycle of reactions.
Me: Maggie, why can’t you turn down the shower knob? Husband: Sorrrryyyyy, I thought I did. Why don’t you check it before you turn on the faucet? Me: Silent. all wet.
He is right. My eyes are working fine but my mind was busy thinking something nonsensical. Two days in a row, I walk into the bathroom for something else but had to come out taking a shower.
If I do not have a say on when to shower, there is a problem. Generally, you see these in movies, when the hero or heroine is in love, he or she mindlessly go about doing their work. No, I am not in love and ain’t daydreaming. So, this is not good 😉
If my mind accompanies my body in its activities this wouldn’t happen. But I guess, I have made it think that it has many more important things to ponder upon while the body mechanically runs its activities.
This is a good reason for me to turn mindful. So, I told my mind you will be here with me in whatever I am doing. That is the only way I would know what you are thinking. And, that is the only way I could go about doing things efficiently.
Here, is a conversation between us.
Mind: It is very boring that you keep a tab on me all the time. Moreover, you know what needs to go into a khichdi. You don’t need my help. Me: Yeah, I need you here. See, I create fewer blunders so fewer cleanups
Was lying on the couch. Conversation continues…
Mind: Remember, those days, when you would do something mindlessly and I would do my own thing. We were happy then.
Now you have to learn to watch me over all the time. You do let me think but you are intruding. Me: You could daydream when I decide to go mindless for some time. When I choose not to listen to some boring conversation, I will let you free then. But for now, you are with me. I AM THE BOSS. Mind: Okay, then. Why don’t you grab a coffee? I guess we both could use a cup right now Me: RIGHT NOW? HMmmmmm….
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita on turning Mindful
Sanaih sanair uparamed buddhya dhrti-grhitaya
Atma-samstham manah kritva na kincid api cintayet //
Bhagavad Gita, Chp 6, Shl 25