However, the throngs of people who come to our ashram to meet my guru, Om Swami, made me realize that I wasn’t suffering alone. The world suffered with me. My problem wasn’t unique. My failures were everyday failures for others as well. They too were dancing to the fickle tunes of their unanchored, untamed and untrained minds. At one ashram event after another, I have heard countless tales of mental struggles—men and women not knowing what to do with themselves, where to even begin making changes.
There is nothing greatly wrong with me or my life, or most people’s lives. We have all just been living with an untrained and untamed mind, conditioned to be unhappy.
– Sadhvi Vrinda Om, A Prayer That Never Fails.
Wake up, wake up, how much more will you sleep – Sadhvi Vrinda ji shouted on top of her voice, while splashing bucketful of epiphany; word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence at my face (spare the visual). I woke up gasping, as if someone shook me from inside. All the past incidents flashed in front of my eyes, now everything started to make sense.
Eureka, Eureka – I shouted. (I only shouted, I’m not Archimedes 🏃♂️🏃♂️)
Mind, it’s our mind that has created this mess in our beautiful lives-an untamed, untrained, conditioned and if I may add, an ignorant mind.
Since reading A Prayer That Never Fails, I have been trying to tame and train my mind. Although I’m unsuccessful in my attempts till now, I do have learnt few valuable things along the way and I hope what I am going to share benefits you in some way.
Fault and Responsibility
Firstly, I’ll let you off the hook: it’s not entirely your fault that mind has been allowed to create havoc in our lives, because since our infancy, our minds are susceptible to pick up the conditioning and beliefs from our near and dear ones (who themselves are having a conditioned and ignorant mind); and then we live our lives according to the conditioning and beliefs till the death without even knowing the root cause of our problems and behaviours.
I recently picked up ‘A Million Thoughts’ again for not only just reading, but to really know the nature of our mind and therefore take corrective action to tame this proverbial beast. The following lines from the introduction perfectly describes our day to day life for most of us-
We get angry when we don’t want to, we go astray even with all the right intentions. We cheat, we lie, we deceive, we put on a mask of falsity. We step out wearing a smile trying to impress others, aware but ignorant that they too are sailing in the same boat as us. Nevertheless, we say things we would rather not, we do things we’d better not.
One day we feel powerful and the next we feel crippled. One moment we feel over the moon and the next moment we are grief-stricken. It happens even if there’s absolutely no change in our circumstances. With the same life, same partner, same job and what have you, on some days you feel happy and fulfilled while on another day, under the same set of circumstances, you feel utterly useless, maybe even suicidal. The see-saw of emotions sucks life out of the best of us, leaving us at the mercy of our thoughts and reactions.
– Om Swami, A Million Thoughts.
Now that we know that our mind needs to be tamed and trained for us to reach our goal, we can’t sit idle and pretend that we don’t know that our mind is creating unnecessary problems in our life. We can’t sit and blame others for conditioning our mind; for almost everyone (if not everyone) around you are also unaware of their havoc creating minds, hence blaming others for your misery won’t take you forward. Whatever has happened, has happened. Let bygones be bygones. We need to take the responsibility for ourselves, for we can blame others till the cows come home, but that won’t take us a single step forward in our life.
Your Three Weapons
A Genuine Master
How would we know about our own ignorance, if we are living among the ignorant people, who are also suffering in their life due to wild, restless and directionless mind (Please note that this statement is made in the objective sense, so don’t take it as a judgement on yourself or humans in general)
To know about our ignorant minds, there needs to be at least source of light (a person/being) in our life that can show just by their conduct about how to treat others in any situation (without getting driven by tendencies), the one who speaks sincere words that resonates deep inside and propels us again and again to work on ourselves. And thankfully, we have found that source of light. (We all know him, don’t we? 🙏🙂)
The most important thing you notice when a genuine master enters your life is your own ignorance, at least in my case.
When you light up a dark room (your mind), then only you know how much work is to be done to clean that room. The dust of useless thoughts, the web of desires and tendencies – you are made aware of everything about your mind by the light. But that light can’t clean your mind; for sure it can show you what you have to do, but in the end, it’s you who have to take action and clean up the mess from your mind. The light can only show you the path, rest is up to you. Therefore a genuine master who can give you the direction and guide you is paramount.
Our mind is like a horse let loose, running wild in random directions and creating chaos in our life. We are getting dragged around mercilessly by our tendencies and desires. And most of the times it really feels easier to give up, doesn’t it?
Possessing wisdom or the right knowledge is not the problem; the problem lies in implementation. The mind is not habituated to execute our noble thinking.
– Sadhvi Vrinda Om, A Prayer That Never Fails.
And willpower is exactly we need to execute our noble thinking. Isn’t it?
And the best part of this battle against your mind-you have countless chances (o.k., o.k., not countless, still a huge number nonetheless) to try and overcome your mind dominance. If you got defeated by the mind now, so what you have the next moment, next day to try again. You can build your willpower reserves every day and with each passing day you will have a little more inner strength to go against your mind.
I think everyone should take out a little time to meditate everyday. (Aaahhh, look at the irony; a non-meditator asking everyone to meditate. You can laugh at me. I’ll join you 😂😂)
You only know the value of something before you have it or after you’ve lost it.
That’s it. I don’t have a calm, focused and stable mind. In fact my mind is more or less like the one described in Dumb Distractions. Therefore I know the value of having a quiet and attentive mind in our lives.
P.S.- I am trying to create a mediation routine, so wish me all the best, if you have finished laughing from the above advice on meditation)
There is a constant battle going inside us; we want to improve and develop good qualities like kindness and compassion, yet most of the times we get dragged by our mind and its tendencies. We aren’t able to retain our virtues in the face of adversities. We unconsciously waste so much of our time and energy due to incessant and involuntary thinking by our mind. This clearly shows that our mind isn’t in our control for most of the times. And that only means one thing, mind still has dominance over us and we have to try again and again until it finally becomes a servant again, rightfully serving its master.
That’s all for now. Thank you for your time and patience. 🙂🙂
Image Credits – Screenshot from Game of Thrones Season 6: Anatomy of A Scene: The Battle of Winterfell (HBO)