What This Verse from Bhagwat Geeta Teaches Us About Emotion Management
Anger, frustration, depression, jealously and insecurity.
They are killing us every day. They are taking away our happiness and pushing us into a vicious cycle: a cycle where we encounter regret at each and every end.
But sadly, it seems we just can never get over it.
It starts with anger and ends with a regret. And this continues again and again, until, until one day, we realize that life has become something more of “surviving” than “living.”
Today, teenagers like me throughout the world are gripped by distractions ranging from social media addictions to issues like substance abuse and depression. Some of us look forward towards meditation for help, while others are busy consulting psychologists and doctors to relive their sufferings.
Amidst all these trials and consultations, we, however, generally tend to ignore one common fact- our emotions.
Our emotions decide our orientation, and our orientation our motivation.
But is it even possible to control our emotions?
Here is what this verse from Bhagwat Geeta says about emotional management and control.
This is not definitely an “all-fit” solution and nor do I make any big promises.
But one thing though — It shares a beautiful insight and if you apply it in your life, you will feel the difference.
So, here is the verse:
असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् |
अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते || 35||
-Chapter 6, Verse 35
śhrī bhagavān uvācha
asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate
Translation: “The mind is undoubtedly restless and difficult to curb, but it can be controlled by repeated practice and detachment.”
As Arjun, troubled by human emotions of greed, fear, anxiety and attachment seeks Lord Krishna for assistance, the Lord imparts him a valuable advice, which is equally relevant and useful even today. Here is it how and why.
#1. The Basic Human Emotions are Always the Same (WHY?)
Regardless of the era and the speed of development, human in all ages and all parts of the world have the same emotions: fear, greed and attachment. The physical entity or the circumstances might be different, but basically the major distractions that we suffer are because of these human emotions.
Maybe the fear is paralyzing us or it may be the greed and anger is overcoming our wisdom, but it is we ourselves and our mind that is stopping us from attaining our goals.
The gadget gratification, the Facebook addiction, the body image problems, all actually are the indirect manifestations of our emotions like greed, anxiety, insecurity and anger.
In short, the manifestations and way of expression has changed, but the basic human emotions are always the same.
#2. The Mind is Difficult to Curb
The first step to finding out the solution of any problem starts from figuring out its root cause.
This verse from Bhagwat Geeta attributes the main cause of our distractions,emotional mismanagement and problems to the restlessness of the mind.
Our thoughts and emotions and always flowing from this point to that, from one stuff to another. The first step towards winning our mind is accepting this fact that our mind is hard to control, and it is obvious that we do not give up.
It starts by accepting the fact that consistent effort is necessary.
Action Step: Accept that the mind is difficult to curb, and understand it will take time and effort.
#3. Repeated Practice and Detachment in the Key (HOW)
We cannot control our thoughts and emotions. We can only manage them. But what we can do is control our mind, which is what decides what kind of emotions and thoughts flow into our lives.
As Lord Krishna emphasizes, the only solution to this restlessness of the mind and constant emotional fluctuations is devoted and consistent practice.
The forms of this practice might vary ranging from practicing solitude to meditation, but the core teaching is: consistent practice.
Consistently practicing and embracing positive emotions is the best way to get rid of negative feelings.
If the negative emotion like lust troubles you, then try discarding that emotion and switching to the positive emotion of love and respect.
The formula is simple: repeated practice of positive emotions = detachment from the negative emotions.
Action step: Start trying to embrace positive emotions by remembering something positive every time you feel down.
#4. The solution lies Within
Undoubtedly, the biggest hindrance towards finding the solutions to our problems is the habit of blaming others. Most students today blame their friends, the internet and other several factors for not being able to concentrate, but here Krishna has strongly emphasized that the solution lies within ourselves.
It lies within our ability to control our five senses or the “Pancha indriya”: the taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. And not only has he given the solution, but has always specifically highlighted the way to practice it: discard the lower level emotions and embrace positive emotions through consistent effort.
In this verse, Krishna has highlighted the most integral learning of life, we all tend to ignore: “We ourselves are the cause and solution of our problems.”
Action step: Stop blaming and start reflecting.
Hope you found the article useful. Feed backs are highly welcome.
But just before you depart, here are some key takeaways:
1. Emotions can be managed, not controlled.
2. Consistently embracing positive emotions is the key.
3. Solution begins with yourself.
4. Blaming won’t solve your problems, they will give rise to new ones.