Mind – the Focus
August 25, 2013 Comments Off on Mind – the Focus
Harih Om Tat Sat. Everything in our life revolves around the mind; the entire focus of our life is the mind. I have been saying this tirelessly for the past so many decades! Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we accept it or not, the sole focus is the mind, which is an expression of the consciousness. It is the essential part of our personality.
Yesterday night, during the satsang, I was mentioning something more about it. The stomach produces hunger. But the hunger is felt by the mind. And the motivation for appeasing hunger by eating food also comes from the mind. As you go on eating, at one stage you feel appeased and you stop eating. This action is also prompted by the mind.
This mind has a unique position. It stands independent of the body, though connected to it. It seems to be encased in the body but it has deeper significance and influence. It is the creator of your contentment or discontentment. It is the source of your fulfillment. It is the origin as well as terminus of all your interactions. When such is its influence and potential, should you not find out how this mind can be accessed and if necessary, moulded in the most suitable manner?
For generating contentment, what does the mind need? If you have many things, the mind may feel contented; with a few things, again it should feel contented; and with nothing also it should be able to produce contentment. A woman may have ten children; another woman may have only two; and a third may have no child at all. One mother becomes contented with ten; another has to find contentment in two; and in the same manner, the third mind has to discover contentment with no child.
If only you are able to understand that the mind is the maker and the destroyer of human fate, I think all your problems will be solved! Man is born on the earth with limited capabilities. He has evolved to the present stage with all his physical limitations unchanged. His supremacy and options are also physically restricted. He cannot inhale poisonous gas – there is no option in the matter of breathing oxygen! When hungry, he has to appease the hunger – it is not a matter of choice! Similarly, in many other aspects of the body, he is bound by the physical and other laws of Nature. Even with respect to one’s height and weight, the possible alterations are very much limited. At the physical level, one has to put up with the inadequacies, if any, throughout his life.
But so far as the mind is concerned, the options are many. In fact, the human life is meant to look into the mind, find out its inconsistencies and drawbacks and set them right. As a child, one might have been unaware of the potential of the mind. But can it be an excuse once he becomes an adult? Should he not, as an adult, examine his traits and discover the healthy and unhealthy notes, encouraging and growing the healthy qualities and discouraging and eliminating the negative ones? If one fails or ignores to do it, can we call him an adult?
“Swamiji, I want to become better, but am unable to …” or “I want to remove my mind’s impurities, Swamiji, but ….” What is this ‘but…’ – is it so difficult? In reality, nothing other than a gentle persuasion is all that is required. You must want to become better. That wanting should not be lacking. Otherwise, how do you claim yourself to be an adult? How do you say that you are mature? I don’t insist that you must have the best of qualities – but your ‘wanting to have them’ cannot be compromised. I do not demand that you be all virtues – but you must not lack in your love for virtues.
And once you want these good and noble qualities – the art of acquiring them is smooth and pleasant. I put it as two-fold: persuasion and dissuasion; or, ‘incorporational’ and ‘eliminational’. Bad things you dissuade sternly and good things you persuade heartily. Tell me – is there any other way of dealing with the mind?
Other than looking at your own mind and treating it – is there anything else in life? What is the purpose of ethics, morality, religion or even spirituality? Is it not all about purifying the mind? You may conduct any number of rituals and ceremonies – do they have anything else to give you other than a poised mind?
daanam svadharmo niyamo yamashca shrutam ca karmaani ca sad-vrataani |
sarve mano-nigraha-lakshanaantaa: paro hi yogo manasa: samaadhi: || – (Sreemad Bhaagavatam 11.23.46)
Charity, adhering to one’s own dharma, following disciplines (external and internal), listening to scriptures, performing meritorious deeds and observing holy vows, have but one goal – gaining control over the mind. Composure of the mind is the supreme yoga.
Now tell me; when everything is so clearly explained, where is the difficulty? Why this doubt? Why this resistance? Don’t be a victim of your own negative tendencies. No more should you be thwarted by diffidence, self-condemnation or anything like that. Do not ever again say, “Yes, Swamiji, we understand, but …” Be confident. Rise like Hanuman. With clarity and proper evaluation, be ready to declare to the whole world: “Why only one? Ten such oceans I shall cross, if need be!” May you all have that strength and resolve!
Harih Om Tat Sat! – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[An excerpt from Poojya Swamiji’s morning message – Prabhaata-rashmih, that was published in the May 2003 issue of Vicharasethu.](c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012