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Tag: mind

Twit quot 1

While there is a lot of bad press associated with social media, there is one big positive that I’ve found. And that is people’s quotes on life / spirituality. Sure, some might be copied off of some other book, maybe even our scriptures, but reading these are just amazing, and make me think. A few are shared here, picked randomly, from Twitter.

You won't lose respect for saying "I don't know". But you will lose respect for making things up.
Don't let money get in the way of wealth
You always have the option of having no opinion.
The mind gives up before the body.
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Best friend, worst friend

Remember when as kids, we used to have things like katti and bacchi? Stick your thumb out and that would mean good friend. And stick your pinky finger out and that would become sworn enemy. And a friend of a friend is a friend, and enemy of an enemy is an enemy. But of course, we were kids, so allegiances would change mighty quickly! You want to play soccer and there is only one kid who owns the ball? Everyone wants to be bacchi with him. Kids also are very quick to say (often to the face) “That girl – she’s my friend, but this girl? She’s my best friend” much to the embarrassment of the parents!

Those days are past, and we have outgrown these best friend worst friend monikers. There is still one best/worst friend though for each one of us. And it is not only simultaneously both best and worst friend, but also the same for all of us! Guessed it? The mind!

As verse 6.5 in the Gita says, ‘Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self.

How can we make sure that the mind remains our friend, and not enemy? By eventually replacing all desires and attachments with gratitude. If desire comes in between mind and intellect, then they squabble. If there are no desires, and work is done as a service to benefit mankind or at the instruction of the Guru, then the mind and intellect on the spiritual path are best friends!

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La casa de la mente

This weekend, my wife and I started watching Netflix’s amazing and highly acclaimed Spanish language TV show titled La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist, with subtitles). No spoilers here, don’t worry!

Like in any robbery / hostage drama, a negotiator is always a key character. And if there is one dependable weapon a negotiator needs, it is a calm mind.

We are all negotiators in some sense, in our day to day lives. Things often do not go according to plan. And while we can cry and bawl about all of life’s quandaries, we cannot change external circumstances. The victor is one who has brought her/his mind under control, irrespective of the outside world.

This is no doubt easier said than done. But it is also not acquired solely by divine endowment either. There are 3 specific steps which will help control the mind (i.e. mente).

  1. Practise meditating everyday. Intentionally, purposefully. Setting time aside for it.
  2. Right Living. Including moderation in food intake, exercise and sleeping.
  3. Staying alert. This is to ensure continuity of 1 and 2. It is easy to fall off the path. Doing a spiritual audit, or being in a self-help group or ‘satsanga’ helps.

The end result? Mente tranquila!

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The waverer

‘Sama’, an ancient word in the language called Sanskrit, refers to equal, match or plain. It is also very close to the English word ‘same’.

Hindu scriptures often talk of mind control through ‘sama’. Such as remaining mentally balanced or ‘sama’ – in the face of both success and failure. Both pleasure or pain. Both richness or poverty. And so on, for other such pairs of opposites.

Surely this is easier said than done.

Experience tells us that we prefer happiness to sorrow. ‘Good’ events, like having a shiny new car or a good bonus, make us happy. And we want more of these things. Whereas ‘bad’ events, like being stuck with a rickety old excuse for a car, or a so-close-but-i-missed-it promotion, leave us dejected.

But can we say with 100% conviction that what makes us happy momentarily, is what we seek in permanence? Because that shiny new car might be vandalised as it stands out among other older cars in the neighbourhood. Or that missed promotion might make one frustrated enough to quit their job and find their life’s calling in a unicorn- startup.

There is no such thing as good or bad. It is just our mind telling us so, based on its own assessment at that particular point in time. We all know how volatile our minds can be – feeling one way now, and completely opposite a few seconds later.

Why then do we leave the choice of being happy or joyful to such a wavering mind?

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I’m freeeeee!

According to vedanta, the ultimate goal of all human beings is moksha, or liberation.

But aren’t we already free?

I can drive my car where I please, or get an Uber when I please. I can order pizzas and ice creams and any other food I want instantaneously. Google and Amazon and the others are allowing me to do exactly what I wish for.

Isn’t this then freedom or moksha?

No, because this freedom is only a mirage. While these may make us materialistically free, we still are not liberated from anxiety, fear, anger, ego and jealousy among other things.

The mind has a unique double role to play. It alone is the reason for bondage. And can be the very reason for liberation as well.

As the saying goes, “it’s all in the mind”, and we must conquer it!

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The six-pack

Can we have a world with only good and no evil?

Asked another way, if we put only good, kind and loving humans on a new life-supporting planet, would that be an end to all of humanity 2.0’s problems?

Hardly.

The reason? Our minds.

Hindu scriptures characterize the mind as having six enemies viz. lust, anger, delusion, greed, jealousy and pride.

As long as the mind exists, these six villains prevail. Which is why, one needn’t go far in search of trouble – they exist in our own homes, and within ourselves too!

Is the solution then to get rid of the mind? No, that is not pragmatic.

The six enemies spring forth from self-centeredness. Lust is to satiate physical desire. Anger is from unfulfilled desires. Delusion is from self-aggrandizement. Greed and jealousy come from discontentment. Pride showcases a (k)no(w)-it-all, and goes before a fall.

Moving the attention of the mind from ourselves, to the needs of others, can obliterate the six enemies in one fell swoop.

Once these inner enemies are conquered, no outer enemies remain.

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