Mind Over Matter
It was around 2 pm in the afternoon of Saturday February 8th, 2014. I checked weather forecast on my iPhone which read: Real feel of -19 deg C and wind speed 21 kmph.
I called my friend and said, “Get ready, I am doing it.” I grabbed my sweat shirt and cap and I was on my way to his house. The idea to do what I was about to do, blinked my mind a few days back, on a chilly Buffalo weekday when I was on my way to class with my friends. I decided the name of my ‘experiment’ then and there…it was ‘the mind over matter experiment’. Two days later, I asked my friend Sridhar, who is an awesome photographer, if he could help me with it. As expected, he didn’t turn me down. “Let’s do it on Saturday”, I said. “Done” was his reply!
We care so much about our body, work hard to keep it nourished, some people exercise and most other at least ‘think’ of exercising to keep their body fit. But what about mind? Does anybody ever think about nourishing it? keeping it fit? People care so much about how their body looks, its shape, etc. How many people even care about what kind of mind they have got? Is it beautiful, ugly, in shape? Or does it even have these attributes attached to it? Now, some might say, why do we even care about our mind? And I would say that’s a very good question. Almost none of us are aware of how puissant entity, our mind is; and I won’t blame anyone for this ignorance. We are always so busy; so busy that we never get time to think about what we are and experience what is lying hidden inside ourselves. Since birth, we get so busy running towards the death that we miss to taste ‘life’. Unfortunately, everybody is running behind something, be it good school, good college, good job, awesome car, big house, etc. etc. and the list goes on, in pursuit of happiness. Yet, I see every single one of us complaining about one thing or the other. So, where is the happiness? Answer lies within ourselves. Experience yourself and you will find it.
So, what does this have to do with the mind over matter experiment?
When I roam around in chilly weathers of Buffalo just in a sweatshirt, people often exclaim, “how the hell do you do that?” and I say, “I surprisingly got well adopted”. But, that’s not the truth to it. The truth lies in ‘mind over matter’. When I see people preparing to get ready to go out in the cold with their three and five layers of warm clothes, I feel very sad, because they miss to experience the freshness and crispness of the air around, which is so pure and worth experiencing. I am no superhuman. It is not that my body does not respond to the extreme colds…it surely does. In fact, it will start to give up after a certain stage. The point here I am trying to make is that we often give so much importance to our beloved body that we give precedence to ‘matter over mind.’ It is a moment of exhilarating experience when one is able to do the other way. Our mind has become a slave of our body. It should be the other way around. That’s why I thought of doing the mind over matter experiment. Through this, I intend to symbolize that there is a powerful entity within every you and me, but lying latent under deep roots of our ignorance. Body ages, dies and decays, but mind doesn’t! Am I trying to insinuate that the body is worthless and that one should not care about it? — Absolutely not! I am trying to say that mind is an important entity too which is worthy of our equal attention as body. I am no yogi or spiritual person, nor a freak who talks about philosophical stuff out of some books. These words come out of my own visceral experiences that I witness when I practice meditation. The itsy-bitsy taste of my mind and the euphoric experience of the universe within, has kept me going onto the path towards myself. I am just another common person surrounded by the same material things as everybody is. It is just that I have been fortunate enough to understand the path towards myself and have been trying to keep walking on it since some time. As heavy and as abstract as this all sounds, simple pure breath is the answer to all questions! No miracles, no chanting, no God, no religion, no faith, no language and no prayer is required. Its just you and your breath. I won’t go into ‘how to’, ‘when’ & ‘where’ kind of questions, since I am no authority nor a teacher to provide answers. One will get them from the right person when the time is right. But this is something I feel that everybody should be at least made aware of, nonetheless, actually experiencing it. Through this short passage, I have tried to enunciate purpose of writing it.
I just feel that the motif of the mind over matter experiment should be understood in the right way, as against it being considered as a college student’s ‘publicity stunt’. How often do we see a bare body person, upside down in the middle of the road in freezing cold? One needs to do something phenomenal to grab attention, what comes next is a different story. The mind over matter experiment, along with being a stunt to grab attention, has subtle relation to the subject matter. Wise readers will be able to understand this relation. I keep referring to this act as an ‘experiment’ because it was something that even I did for the first time. There is a saying in my native language, “Chamatkara shivay namaskar nahi”, literal translation of which will be, “nobody will bow in front of you unless you perform a miracle.” I do not intend to get any bows, nor have I performed any miracle; but the idea behind doing Śīrṣāsana, (also considered as king of all the asanas) bare body, in middle of the road, in extreme cold is to attract attention to subject matter and to grab some consideration for it, as I take the bizarreness of this act, metaphoric to a miracle, and not literal.
I consider a minute of thought and consideration given by the reader to what I am trying to say, as my purpose being served. Thanks for reading!
You may have a look at the video here: