Monday, August 29, 2011

Are we busy monkeying around?

Introduction: You may have heard how they catch monkeys here in India. A small cage is kept with door just open to slip your hand in. The cage contains some groundnuts. A monkey approaches the cage and slips its hand in and holds the groundnuts in its fist. But the fisted hand cannot come out as there is no enough space for that. The monkey has to forgo the nuts and let his hand slip out of the cage. Surprisingly, the monkey keeps on holding the nuts in its fist, and gets trapped and is caught. Friends, our mind many times behaves like the monkey. We go on holding to things that are not beneficial for our growth and get trapped. We function with such limited minds. Let us remember, ‘the mind is a wonderful servant, but a cruel master.’ So what are the steps to master our minds? Let’s explore some.

1. Focus on the now: Our minds are like the monkey in the above story. We are hooked to our past and we go on worrying for our future. This leads to all ills in personal, social, professional lives of an individual. The answer to this is to focus on the present. Santosh Sharma in ‘Next What’s In’ tells us to keep our minds in the present; he calls this as the Present Moment Awareness. He further states that if we do so, we will be connected to the Universal Intelligence and be able to make wiser, nobler, healthier and richer decisions. When an opportunity comes before us, our minds go on and retrieve our past records, if we have failed somewhere in the past, the mind would make us believe that we will again repeat the same result. Now our decisions are polluted and made with this impact of the past which bears heavily on our future. What we need to do is to focus on the opportunity. We can learn from our past mistakes but we don’t let our past spoil our future. The best way to make our future better is to be aware of the present moment, keep our minds in the ‘here’ and ‘now’.

2. Practice Deep breathing: We usually are born with natural ability to breathe deep from our stomachs (Observe a small baby breathing). But as we grow we learn wrong habits, now we tend to breathe superficially from our chest up. This not only gives way to health related problems, but it also impacts our voice quality and it makes our minds run wild with imaginations. Deep breathing will connect us to God and his wisdom. Deep breathing will oxygenate our body cells fully leading to healthier and richer lives. If we discipline ourselves to deep breathing every day, we will be in better position to lead our minds and not be led. Count 1 to 4 as you inhale, stop now till the count of 4 and do the same as you exhale. You can even do this exercise as you walk alone. Count 4 steps as you inhale, hold for 4 steps and exhale for the next 4. If your mind runs wild, don’t struggle; gently lead it back to the breath. Now you will learn the benefits of deep breathing, it will help you to focus on the present. The present moment is bliss!

3. We are not our minds: From the moment we are awake in the morning till we go off to sleep at night our minds are active (even when we are sleeping). As mentioned above, our minds will lead us either to the past or to the future. Over time we inculcate this habit and we are enslaved. We start believing that whatever the movie our mind is playing is our real world. This further gives way to feeling in our bodies, then it leads to actions and outcome. We believe we are our mind and body. The truth is neither. We are Consciousness. We are a part of the Consciousness and as we arrive in this world, we take some form of body and mind but this is temporary. We will merge with Consciousness after our death. Our minds and body are limited, negative, sick and depleting day after day. But Consciousness was, is and always will be. It remains unlimited, positive, healthy and ever invigorating. If we realize this then we will not allow our minds to run our course, but we will run our lives wisely being aware of the fact that we are Consciousness and so is everyone around us.

Conclusion: Let’s master our minds and bodies then we will have better individuals, families, societies, nations and world. The change outside is always reciprocal to the change within. As we go within ourselves, we will connect to the Consciousness and we will master ourselves and be able to achieve great feats. Edmund Hillary, the first man with Norgay Tensing to climb Mt. Everest was asked, about his great conquest. He replied, 'It’s not about conquering mountains but conquering ourselves.’ Friends, before we embark to conquer the world the million dollar question is: Have we conquered our minds? Or are we letting our minds monkey around?