As the mind, so the individual. This is a concrete fact in life. We all must deal with our minds if we are transacting in the world. We may run away from situations, people or objects but we cannot deny our own mind and its constant chat with us. When the mind is productive, inspired and able to deal with all situations we call it healthy and if not, otherwise. What makes the mind healthy? How can we make it healthy or how can we make the most out of this beautiful equipment called the mind? This is the theme of our inquiry.
Bipolarity of mind is readily known to us; we deal with all kinds of thoughts and emotions. While it is easy to deal with the positive or happier version of the contents of our mind, we find it is difficult to be on the other side. This is not a sad fate but the very nature of life.
Unconducive situations make us disappointed or dejected, we cannot change it. I am not giving you any false promise or a shortcut to happier life, because there is no such thing. On the other hand, I am going to point out something which is obvious yet ignored by all of us — There is no mind. What we call our mind is a constant flow of thoughts and emotions. Emotion or thought when seen individually cannot be called a ‘Mind’. Just like a forest which is a collection of trees, wildlife etc. We are obviously aware of the contents of our mind and logically that makes it an object of our awareness. The subject (we) cannot be the mind.
How can this drive away the bad stuff that is bothering us? It need not. Mind is a constant flow and not a stagnant one. Our ability to cope with undesirable situations can be greatly increased if we recognize and re-educate ourselves about this fundamental nature of mind.
The beauty of life is this, that everything is impermanent. That makes life dynamic, pulsating and enjoyable. Obviously, this post is not complete without telling you how to train the mind to be calm. This can be practiced anywhere and at any time when you are not engaged with anything else.
Imagine you are in an airport lobby; you are waiting for your flight. As you sit there or anywhere, observe the world around without judgement or any kind of reaction (positive or negative). You may see an unruly child giving a hard time for his or her parents — don’t react (mentally), to this or anything that you see or hear. Remember to react to your flight’s announcement or you’ll miss it. Now, jokes apart. As you sit there just witnessing everything around you, you’ll learn the most fundamental and strongest skill in meditation. This is called sakshi-bhaava or witnessing attitude.
How can this help us? As you face a tough situation, like stress or sadness. You can use this skill to remain as a mere observer to them and you’ll see you can cope with the situation or handle it much more efficiently. It makes your journey from unpleasant to the pleasant less bitter. A more advanced practice is to sit comfortably with closed eyes and observe the world of sound, like before. No reaction makes observation potent. You need not react positively to a sound that you feel is pleasing or a sound that you think is distracting.
With practice you will see that you can remain unperturbed with any kind of thought or emotion. This won’t certainly make you a lifeless doll, but helps you become more efficient by eliminating the major distraction of being not focused on the moment that is here and now. Remember that everything passes.