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Art of mind control

Our quality of life and achievements largely depend on the quality of our thinking, feeling and the requisite actions. By controlling these, we can easily shape our ends in an intended manner.

columns Updated: Sep 13, 2013 07:58 IST

Our quality of life and achievements largely depend on the quality of our thinking, feeling and the requisite actions. By controlling these, we can easily shape our ends in an intended manner.

The tragedy is that instead of making use of these, we are rather carried away by our negative impulses, emotions and thinking process. Eventually, we suffer from the inevitable consequences.

In the Mahabharata, Duryodhan says, “I know what Dharma is but I am not motivated to pursue it. I know what Adharma is but I cannot desist.” He was driven by strong negative emotions like greed and jealousy which led to his catastrophe.

More often than not, we are also enslaved by our negative emotions and intriguing thinking process in spite of ourselves. Whereas a controlled mind is our greatest asset, an uncontrolled mind is our most formidable enemy.

But, how can we control the mind? In the Gita, Arjuna asks the same question to Krishna. He finds mind-control as impossible as controlling the tempestuous wind. Is there any systematic process to tame our mind and use it for our benefit?

Krishna gives him a twofold formula of mind-control — Abhyas and Bairagya. Since there is no short-cut, persistent practice is a rudimentary requisite for controlling the mind. Persistent practice of the presence of God or chanting with incoming and outgoing breath is an easy way. One can assiduously observe the breathing process and constant arising of thoughts and emotions in the mind as an indifferent observer. This cultivates detachment and enables us to use the mind as a tool.

Better still is the practice of non-attachment. Mind is disturbed because of constant craving and unmet desires. One must perpetually ponder over the absolute impermanence of everything in life and in this world; and should seek ultimate enlightenment to get rid of this misery-go-round.

This develops dispassion, extinguishes the flame of desire and develops mastery over the mind.