Letters to the Self – Controlling the mind

In a book about brain, studied that brain does remapping when certain parts of the body is lost or amputated. For example, when a hand is amputated, the area of brain occupied by hand is remapped to others. Like face part of the brain breaches and occupy the hand part as well. How does is it happen, why it happens, yet to figure out. Evolution is a great mechanism of nature that keeps the world in balance.

There are so many things in nature including the functioning of brain that we cannot control. But there are aspects that we can do control and make peace with our ourselves. History and Science repeatedly says it. One who has controlled her/his mind can attain anything in his life. But our mind is most of the time unsteady, uncooperative, and restless. These are words from Bhagavad Gita. And is true to date.

How do mind become steady, cooperative and calm?

At a high level, mind knows the key factors that drive the life. Health, Purpose and Community in the order. In order to achieve each of these, mind has to align and accept with it.

Health is generally taken for granted till we hit a chronic disease or serious problem. But that is too late. Now a days, every medium is focusing on individual’s health. Most of them are from marketing stand point but at the least there is some awareness. This Thirukkural hit me hard. How important it is.

பிணியின்மை செல்வம் விளைவின்பம் ஏமம் அணியென்ப நாட்டிவ் வைந்து. – குறள் எண் – 738

Earlier days, health was more related to food we eat and the labor we do day to day. Now, most modern diseases are triggered from mind. Stress being the primary cause of it. Stress was not heard of commonly generations earlier. They would have had stress in rare panic or distress situations. But these days, we can hear grade 6 student talking of stress. Every one of us have target to achieve, timeline to meet, people to question and get panicked most often. Human body is not evolved for that yet. We are same as any other living organisms in the planet. No animal can take this. So eating healthy food is just not enough. Stress is primarily a function of mind that spreads through out the body. One can feel joints paining when stressed out which would not be felt otherwise. Or metabolism not functioning correctly where there is a very important meeting. So how to handle stress? or other way, how to control mind?

Back in time, there was no question of purpose in life. Each had a work to do, primarily to fulfill the basic needs. As centuries passed by, humans start accumulating wealth or started chasing power. This lead to wealthy few who started controlling rest from imperial times till start of 20th century. From there liberalism and capitalism made a globalized world, where people started chasing their dreams. Most often, these dreams are defined again by wealthy few. Money and Power continue to occupy the major part of people goals. Some People do realize, there is no meaning in chasing both of these once the ‘basic (is subjective)’ needs are satisfied. There comes the question of purpose of life. This might come at any age from 16 to 60 or later based on the environment one is in. When this question comes, external searching of passion or get in to service or travelling places does not help much. One has to search inside, seek awareness and live in the moment. To do that, mind has to be calm and cooperative. How to control the mind to do that?

History emphasized that community is crucial for leading a satisfied life. Science as well agrees to it. Work and Community was synonymous till few decades back. Larger families, Village setup, family business all helped to be in a community and support each other. No need for individuals to look for relationships or take conscious effort to build a community around. Now nuclear families are considered feasible with the liberal thoughts and individual focus. With this, one has to take conscious effort to build relationships, make long lasting friendships and a tight knit family. Here mind plays a tricky or even crooked role of applying pre judice, judging people, having hatred or greed and apply all this when talking to people. Then how is community possible? How to control the mind to build harmonious community around?

Questions will lead to answers or make us search for it. Many texts have given paths to achieve calmness, have a steady mind and to be cooperative. But one has to try the path and experience it. Only internalizing and experiencing would help identify the path that works for us. Paths can be different but one has to live and experience to decide on the path.

Cultivation of Mind

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