What is Mind?:
What is Mind? Is it part of the Brain? The brain has got physical characteristics which can be visualized, touched, handled and is located inside the skull. There are certain brain control techniques. But what about the mind? It has no physical dimensions. But there appears to be some kind of relationship between the brain and the mind. When the brain is non functional, (say when the brain activity is blocked by deep anesthesia or coma), the mind also does not seem to function.
Mind is not a gross matter - visible and tangible. The mind can not be seen. The magnitude of the mind cannot be measured. Mind does not require a space to exist.
Definition of Mind:
How to define the Mind? The mind is nothing but a “bundle of desires, thoughts, wants and expectations”. As long as a person is alive, he will have the thoughts, desires, wants and expectations. And these are continually changing, minute to minute and day by day.
If your desires and expectations do not fructify, you are under stress, leading to anxiety, mental tension, frustration and depression. If you want to enjoy stress free life, you need to exercise control over mind. You can not under-estimate the mind powers.
Mind Control Techniques:
But how to control your mind? How to control your negative thoughts and desires? Why there is a necessity to control the negative thoughts and desires, thereby attempting to control the mind? Because, the thoughts and desires transform into words and words result in actions. When a person has a lot of negative thoughts, it may lead him to stress, anxiety, depression, negative actions and violent behavior. There are certain mind control techniques / mind control tricks widely practiced, such as Suppression technique and/or Outburst technique, for controlling the mind.
In the Suppression technique, you are asked to suppress your negative thoughts and desires and not to manifest them. But the fact is, your thoughts and desires are like coiled springs. The more you suppress the coiled spring, the more pressure is built upon it. The moment you let go of your hand even slightly, the coiled spring jumps across much more vigorously. Similarly, the moment you relapse in suppressing your negative thoughts and desires, they come out violently. The situation becomes from bad to worse.
In the Outburst technique, you are asked to let out your negative thoughts with full force in the open. If you are angry with somebody, you are asked to outburst your anger, say in front of a mirror or in an open park. Once your outburst is over, you may temporarily feel relaxed. But ultimately, this technique leads you to the guilt feeling, which in turn generates a lot of negative thoughts. It is a vicious cycle. These methods employ negative techniques and hence the relief becomes temporary, ultimately leading to more and more negative thoughts, stress, anxiety, cynicism and mental imbalances.
Other methods involve the techniques called “still the mind” and/or “be a witness to your thoughts”. But for majority of the people (including me), it is very difficult to practice in day to day life, as only a few holy men / yogis can master these techniques.
What I recommend and as well as I practice, is the “Substitution” technique. We should understand the nature of mind. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, mind is the bundle of desires, thoughts and wants. As long as you are alive, your mind will always be with you. Your mind is always filled with thoughts and desires. You can not empty your mind in your day to day life.
Suppose you enter your bedroom in the night. The room is dark and you can not see anything. Once you switch on the light bulb, the entire room is filled with light and you do not see the darkness. What happened to the darkness? As soon as the light came in, the darkness vanished automatically. You did not attempt to drive away nor suppress the darkness. You only put on the light switch. You enabled the light to come in, which drove away the darkness automatically. Similar is the case with your mind. Bring in positive thoughts to your mind, which will automatically drive away your negative thoughts. But the mind can not be empty. Instead of mind full of negative thoughts, substitute them with positive thoughts. When the mind is full of positive thoughts, there is no place for negative thoughts to enter.
In fact, the phrase “how to control the mind” itself is wrong. It is almost impossible to “control” the mind. The right phrase is “how to regulate the mind”. By practicing the “substitution” technique properly, we can regulate our mind in the day to day life.
How to practice the “substitution” technique in our daily life? It is not difficult, provided you make a commitment to practice them on a daily basis. There are 9 Steps to practice the “substitution” technique, which I will explain below.
Step 1 – Keeping Good Company:
There is a famous quote- “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”. Seeking and remaining in good company will keep your mind with positive thoughts. Consider a small example. You are all familiar with mineral water. Imagine that you have a 1-litre bottle which is full of filthy water. You are required to replace the filthy water with clean drinking water, but there is a condition. You can not pour out the filthy water first, wash the bottle and then fill up the bottle with clean water. In such a situation, how can you replace the filthy water with good water? It is very easy. Go to a stream where clean water is flowing. Just keep the water bottle, containing the filthy water, immersed in the stream. You will find that after a few minutes, the entire bottle is filled with clean water. How has this happened? The clean water from the stream has entered the bottle and driven away the filthy water. You have not done anything extra-ordinary. You have simply brought the filthy water bottle in contact with the stream water. That’s all. Now, compare the water bottle with your Mind. The filthy water can be compared to the negative thoughts and negative desires in your mind. The water stream can be compared with good company (in Sanskrit language, “good company” is called “satsang”). When you remain in the good company, the positive thoughts enter your mind and drive away the negative thoughts. It is similar to the light driving away the darkness in the room.
Step 2 – Repeat God’s Name Often:
Choose the name of God you love the most. Whenever you find time, irrespective of where you are, keep on repeating your God’s name mentally. (In Sanskrit, it is called “nama smaran”). God loves music. If you can repeat the name of your God in a musical tune (as per your liking), it is wonderful. This process will drive away your negative thoughts and emotions.
Step 3 – See Good Sights:
We should understand one important aspect. Mind can be compared to the CPU of the computer. Whatever we feed in, CPU processes it and gives the output. Garbage in – Garbage out. Quality data in – Quality reports out. The data to the CPU can be fed in through the FIVE input devices, such as the Keyboard, Mouse, Floppy Drive, CD Drive and Pen Drive. Similarly, our FIVE sensory organs, such as the Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth and the Hands are the input devices to the Mind. Based on the input information fed by these sensory organs, our Mind reacts. If you see only good sights and positive videos / movies, positive thoughts are developed in the Mind. If you see horror films and negative / filthy programs on the TV (most of TV programs have a lot of these), negative and violent thoughts are developed in the Mind. Read only good and holy books and the books on personality development. Avoid reading horror stories and negative news (newspapers have plenty of them).
Step 4 – Hear Good Music:
Tune your ears to hear only good and soothing music and sounds. As far as possible, avoid hearing bad and filthy words, heated arguments and violent shouts. It is better to move away from such places.
Step 5 – Speak Softly and Positively:
Always try to speak softly and positively. Don’t hate others. Avoid speaking harsh words. Don’t enter into heated arguments with anybody. It is pertinent to remember Mahatma Gandhi’s reference to the Three Monkeys – First Monkey closing his both EYES with both hands – Don’t see bad sights; the Second Monkey closing his both EARS with both hands – Don’t hear bad sounds; and the Third Monkey closing his MOUTH with both hands – Don’t speak bad words / untruth.
Step 6 – Eat Moderately:
Another important aspect which influences your thoughts and the Mind, is the type and quantity of food you eat. A subtler part of the food digested, influences the Mind and the thought process. Always choose nutritious food and eat in moderate quantity. Too much of food not only leads to obesity, but also leads to dullness of the Mind. Avoid alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and drugs, which not only spoil your health, but also adversely affect your Mind. Also avoid stale / pungent food.
Step 7 – Smell Good Fragrance:
Try to smell good fragrances, particularly the natural flowers. Avoid / move away from the place where there is a bad / filthy smell.
Step 8 – Do Good Things:
Always try to do good things in life. Whenever and wherever you get a chance to help others, however tiny it is, please extend your help. Avoid doing wrong things against your Conscience, as it will lead to guilt feelings in your Mind.
Step 9 – Go to Good / Holy Places:
Visit good and holy places. Whenever possible, make a tour to the country-side and / or Mountain ranges, where you can enjoy the natural surroundings. They will refresh your Mind and Heart. Avoid going to gamblers’ dens and other unholy places.
Try practicing these 9 Habits earnestly and you will feel the difference. Once you learn mind control techniques and practice them effectively, you will always remain in a positive frame of mind, with equanimity and calmness. You can enjoy stress free living. If you need further clarifications / help, please EMAIL to me. I will respond as soon as possible.
“Hands that Help are Holier, than the Lips that Pray”.
VPR (Prof. V. Pandu Rangan)
"Loved reading this piece by Pandurangan, V
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