THE MIND: FUNCTIONS AND CONTROL # 2
THE MIND: FUNCTIONS AND CONTROL # 2
The mind behaves in a similar fashion as the waves of the ocean. The mind can be very still, as when you are in meditation. Your mind is well controlled, like the calm water of a serene lake. But the waves form from the calm water when it is disturbed. The mind is like that. The thought waves are there. They can be calm and gentle as when you have good and controlled thinking i.e. vivek or wise thinking. When the ocean waves reach the shore, they lose their gentleness and crash noisily. Now the mind can be exactly like that. When the smooth thinking gets disturbed and suffers anxieties and passions, it is like the crashing of those waves. It does not make sense anymore, because your thinking is not logical. It is not coordinated. It is not useful, as when it is calm. It only serves to stir up the stress in you. You become troubled. So this is why it is so important to control the mind. The definition of yoga is to control the thought waves. The chit (consciousness) encompasses vritis (thought waves) that are disturbing the peace of the mind. So when you control the vritis, then you have a controlled mind. Without a controlled mind we are really in trouble.
How does the mind trouble us? Many of us think negatively and we can say that the thinking is within ourself. We think: O God! I am useless. I am evil. I cannot function well. I do not have confidence. I always feel sick. Why do I feel like this? These arise within you because of improper thinking. God made a beautiful body. It functions very well. God made a very beautiful mind. It can be serene. It can be positive. It can be accomplishing things that are useful for you. Nevertheless, by improper training, the mind begins to run in negative grooves and causes trouble for you. So some people never feel well. We all probably know of people who are always negative. They complain about everything. That is the wrong way to live. Use the intellect which is God-given wisdom to know that God has given you a beautiful body that functions properly. Do not let the mind make the body sick, which is what often happens. There is psychosomatic medicine to deal with people whose minds make their body sick. The body will not get better until the mind gets better.
The mind creates desires. And desires when not fulfilled, creates frustration. Frustration leads to anger. Anger leads to the loss of the peace and serenity of the mind. And you become distressed. We must know how to control desires. The first thing Lord Buddha taught his five disciples in Varanasi was that life is full of sufferings (dukh). The cause the suffering is desires (tanha). You want to fulfill them, and you cannot control them. It is frustrating. Desire to want various things, even to live, or to do anything can be a source of trouble for you. So reduce desires, and whatever desires you have must be noble ones. It’s good for your welfare, and the welfare of everybody else. Any desire which you have that is selfish e.g. to improve yourself at the expense of other people, is not good. As you are seeing in the world today, there are many wars going on, because some leader, some party, desires certain things for their own benefit, and they do not care about the people, and so they fight. This goes on in personal life also. They fight in the temple and in the home. The fighting is going on in the mind. If the mind does not have a battle in it, there will be no battle outside. I think we can all understand that. If the mind is peaceful, there will be peace in the world. There is no peace in religion. There is no peace in politics. There is no peace in countries. There is no peace in society because people do not have peace in their minds. People talk about peace, love, and harmony, but in practice they are not there. So we must try to understand that the mind is the source of all the troubles we have, and the mind can also free us from all the troubles which we have, and put us on the path to moksha (liberation).
Dr. Jagessar Das