Understanding the Nature of the Mind & How to Control it (This is Brilliant!)
What are Mind related Problems?
We find many people suffering from mind-related problems. They are not able to control their thought patterns. They feel dull and depressed. Let us try to understand the nature of the mind in this article. Fundamentally, the Mind has two qualities. The first quality is Heaviness and the second is the tendency to Scatter. Heaviness is related to the content of the mind. What the mind thinks all the time. For example: Thinking about money to make ends meet is a good thing, but when we attach too many expectations with it, it becomes a matter of concern. This is because day and night we are only looking for means to multiply the money we have. We lose our peace of mind and start feeling frustrated when things are not working for us. Even if money comes, there is a fear of losing it. Such a thought process, brings in immense heaviness in the mind. So, Heaviness is a result of impure thoughts. This is one of the main reasons why stress is increasing in our lives today.
What are the types of thoughts?
Let us understand how we think….Our thoughts can either be material or spiritual. Material thoughts are of two types, neutral thoughts and destructive thoughts. Neutral thoughts are thoughts related to gossip. In cities, there is this concept of kitty parties. Here people play cards and engage in back-biting about their friends and relatives. After returning home, they harbor negative feelings against people they don’t like. On the thought platform, they go on thinking about people and events, which makes them negative. In a nutshell, gossiping, backbiting or thinking about news-related discussions and other loose talks fall under the neutral thought category. The negative reaction is not immediate. It builds over time, just like how rust forms over iron.
What are Destructive Thoughts?
When neutral thoughts become a part of our nature, it transforms into destructive thoughts. Destructive thoughts are the most dangerous. They directly harm the person. He is not able to handle life situations or take simple decisions. Thinking about violence, sexual content or anything that is related to the 6 vices are destructive. The 6 vices are intense negative emotions that are present in everybody. They are Lust, Anger, Pride, Greed, Attachment, and Envy. When the mind is stuck in a loop of destructive thoughts, one starts feeling dissatisfied. There is a whole lot of energy drain. Let us take the money example we discussed earlier. If a person starts dreaming about becoming a billionaire, without having worked for it, he is moving towards self-destruction. He engages in foul means like gambling, robbery and cheating. In this state, he spends all his money and energy with the hope of gaining more and more. This immense greed for money in reality, leads him to a state of delusion making him a nervous wreck. We have finished understanding the first quality of the mind that is heaviness.
How does Mind Scatter happen?
Now we’ll cover the second quality that is the tendency of the mind to scatter. In this state, the mind jumps from one topic to another without following any order. It is like a monkey that jumps from one branch to another. Here the mind is scattered and there is this tendency to Postpone. The mind throws up so many options that it leaves us totally confused. How can we ever make the right decision with such a frame of mind? Won’t this affect our job performance? Obviously it will. Good-quality work requires a focused mind. A scattered mind will not allow us to give our best. Because most of our energy is dissipated in useless thoughts and very less energy is applied to work. So to excel, in any field, it is required that the mind must be well trained and organized. You might have seen celebrities who are extremely disciplined. They follow their fitness work-out routine on a daily basis and keep a tab on their diet. There is absolutely no compromise on their schedule and they reach their workplace, dot on time. This means they have a WELL TRAINED MIND. They have managed to control their mind-scatter and have directed their energies in a specific direction.
What happens when mind is well-trained but impure?
But in the long run, most of the celebrities meet a devastating end. They become addicted to drinking, smoking and drugs. Why does this happen? We must understand this with full attention. Heaviness of the mind and scattering are two different things. Though celebrities have controlled their mind scatter, they have not paid attention to the building heaviness in their minds. They have not learnt how to handle success because of which they develop pride. Their mind is full of impurities. They gamble, cheat, drink and indulge in activities that go against our Vedic injunctions. So just controlling mind scatter is not enough. Purifying the mind of its heaviness as well as controlling mind scatter should go hand in hand. As Sadhakas, we must take care of this.
How can mind scatter be controlled?
Let us look at the practices that can help us control mind scatter. Following a fixed spiritual practice every day like chanting, yoga, pranayama and Likhita Japa keeps the sadhaka grounded and controls energy dissipation. These authentic practices force the mind to operate within a boundary. They do not allow the mind to wander as it pleases. How do we get rid of the heavy mind now?
How can Heaviness or Impurities be got rid of?
To get rid of Heaviness, the most effective remedy is Satsanga or listening to enlightened masters. Their words have the strength to penetrate deep into our unconscious mind and clean the muck of compulsions and distorted ideas. By listening to the glories of the Lord, our thoughts get purified and elevated. We start experiencing joy. Our mind feels light. Along with listening to enlightened masters, we can read Vedic Scriptures like Ramcharitmanas, Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatham. If we increase spiritual activities in our life, the destructive thought patterns get converted into spiritual thoughts.
Why should Sadhana and Satsanga go hand-in-hand?
Now, let us summarize this discussion- The 2 qualities of the mind, Heaviness and mind scatter have to be dealt with, simultaneously. Just like a plant needs both Fencing and suitable conditions like sunshine, water and soil to grow, a Sadhaka requires both Sadhana and Satsanga. Sadhana is like fencing the plant and protecting it from being eaten by cows and goats. Sadhana protects the devotee from the beasts of the material world. Satsanga or hearing the glories of the Lord is like watering the plant. Satsanga gives strength to the Sadhaka to sail through difficult life situations. Just like both fencing and suitable conditions are required for the plant’s growth, Sadhana and Satsanga should always go hand in hand, in a sincere Sadhaka’s life.