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The Only Way To Control The Mind (Probably)

Most religions (and now psychology also) agree that it is essential to regulate one's thoughts and emotions in order to live harmoniously. We are surrounded by umpteen stimuli and media which exhort us to unbridled enjoyment.

The result of such enjoyment is always negative--disease, unhappiness and/or premature death. It also brings along loss of personal freedom, dishonour, and poverty.

We can see this demonstrated every day in the lives of successful people who after achieving their goals, descend into a life of depraved indulgence, giving up all their previous discipline. The newspapers celebrate stories of celebrities' fall from grace.

It is an inevitable tradeoff- one can't have both.

This establishes the ancient's wise saying:

Master yourself, and you can master your destiny.

But how?

One needs to realize that its almost impossible to control the mind. We do not know where it is, and its complete nature. Often we are so caught up in the unfolding events of life that we fail to observe the mind diligently. This gives it more than enough opportunities to go one up on us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, it is there, inciting us to do actions and to bear their consequences.

So it is essential to control the mind, and yet, we do not have a means of doing this.

The ancient philosophical treatises on Yoga have dwelt extensively on the subject of mind control (self mastery). However, man almost always misunderstands their purpose. It's for winning freedom, not for grovelling further into worldly enjoyments.

Secret of mind control (self mastery)

The ancient texts reveal desire to be the root of actions. With each desire, humans think that it will bring the final beatitude, that they will be happy and at peace. But of course it is not so. Just as addicts try to rationalise 'just this one more time' , the pursuit of happiness through fulfilling desires is never ending.The ancients have several analogies for this pursuit: the mirage of water in the desert for the thirsty traveller; the musk deer that searches everywhere for the origin of the fragrance, without looking in its own body which is the actual source,...

If you observe long enough you will find that every desire starts with a thought. When you repeat it, this thought creates a tension in your entire system. And when this tension possesses you, you must find a way to relieve it. At this stage of development, there is only one way to do that---fulfill that desire.

This pattern has been engraved in our DNA over countless repetitions.

Hans Selye, the authority on Stress, observed: Stress is the result of involuntary thoughts.

This tallies perfectly with our previous theory.

Which means that a mind which has thoughts running through it all the time, will develop stress (tension). It is easy to see how the mind picks pleasures as stress-relievers. Thus various desires take birth.

Constant Engagement-the only way to control the mind

So involuntary thoughts lead to stress or tension, and the mind adopts desire fulfillment to defuse that tension and restore the equilibrium. Advertising operates on the same principles. Ads are strategically designed to sow the seeds of desire in our minds, sufficient number of times to create the tension, forcing us to relieve it.

So how to master the mind? Avoid letting the mind get tensed up.

How to avoid tension in the mind? Traditionally, various meditation techniques address this very issue.

However, we face a tricky problem. The vulnerability to tension is present 24 hours. And it is not possible for most of us to sit and meditate all the time. Our minds are too restless.

The simplest strategy has been coded into this very familiar proverb from days of yore:

The idle mind is the devil's workshop. If you rest, you rust.

Which means occupying oneself all the time is the easiest way to control the mind.

When one has made constant engagement a habit, he/she can incorporate further practices like momrnt-to-moment awareness. 

This post first appeared on Inspiration Bonanza, please read the originial post: here

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The Only Way To Control The Mind (Probably)


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