In this os.me YouTube video, amongst the remaining incredible wisdom, Swami shared something so profound and rare. He said (paraphrased) that any thought which we have no control over and takes over our mind is a vikara, a tendency of the mind. Essentially it means that it has been with us, probably since our previous births or at least since childhood.
So, as per usual, I contemplated on this eureka moment and delved deeper into how we can identify those tendencies and work on erasing them. The good news is that it is possible! And the bad news is that it ain’t that easy!
How can we identify innate tendencies?
Well it’s very simple. If we become aware of ourselves and reflect a bit, we will realise that some thoughts constantly bother us and they form a similar pattern in our minds. Here are some examples (which may or may not include my own tendencies… ahem..)
1. You get angry easily as soon as you are unable to help someone or things went wrong when they didn’t listen to your advice. You get helpless thoughts and feelings.
2. You are self-critical of yourself, constantly. You keep beating yourself up for not being perfect or near-perfect.
3. You feel like the entire world is out there to get you.
4. You often get convinced by your mind to keep postponing things off.
5. You are extremely loving to others because you fear rejection.
6. You start endeavours with great intentions and a lot of steam but never follow them through.
7. Many, many, many more.
If we can identify which thought is distracting us or making us uncomfortable and miserable, congratulations to us! We just identified a tendency. Next, we need to work on diminishing its occurrence.
How to eliminate innate tendencies?
Well, Swami has spoken about this for just about 11 years, so as you may know, the only answer is mindfulness and awareness.
We could try to be aware of our mind and thoughts for one day and identify when those ingrained thoughts arise. For example, if you are starting to feel helpless in a situation and identify a self-critical thought in your mind, pause. Breathe in and remind yourself that it’s what your mind is saying. It isn’t true. Truth is what is and the mind’s commentary is never useful, it has nothing new to say about old stories, as Swami shared.
We can start by promising ourselves to stop entertaining self-destructive thoughts or actions which deepen our tendencies. Then, once we manage to keep up the practice to the best of our ability, gradually our levels of happiness will increase. One day at a time, I think we can all try it.
The only problem is: Do you want to do it?;)
I do! Let’s try it together. Shall we?