DE-STRESSING THE MIND
Kabir Man Nirmal Bhaya, Jaise
Pache Pache Hari Phire, Kahat Kabir Kabir
[When my Mind became soft and clean like the clean waters of Mother Ganga
The God Himself started to come after me, calling out ‘Kabir, Kabir!]
In our search for peace, two most essential things are a disease free body and a stress free mind. Attaining this appears to be difficult but is not an impossible task. We have to take responsibility for our own behaviour and attitude in life and we would find ourselves living a peaceful life in spite of the problems that prevail endlessly in the external world . Our inner source of peace and balance makes us sail through life very smoothly. We can be our own doctors and can cure ourselves of any kind of ailment if we become responsible towards our own body and our own mind.
Disease is ‘dis-ease’ with the self. When life is out of control and we are not able to maintain any kind of balance, then mind and body react in such a way that we become ill at ease with ourselves - that is the cause of all illnesses and diseases.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, the Paramacharya of Bihar School of Yoga, Munger mentioned recently in one of his addresses that two things are important for the health of body and that of the mind - every single day,we should detox the body and de-stress the mind . This should be done on a regular basis. We need to have a very good metabolic system to detoxify the body and we should have a stress free mind. A good indication of a stress free mind is that we have a very good sleep pattern every night. In other words, if our bowel movements are not regular and if we are tossing and turning in bed at night, something is terribly wrong with our system. We must address this on a priority basis.
In yoga we have techniques which help to regulate the metabolism and thereby to cleanse the body on a daily basis. One of the practices for instance is a Hatha Yoga practice called Shankha-Prakshalana or intestinal cleansing. It is a simple practice that we should learn from a competent Yoga teacher and once we have learnt it, we can practice on our own. It is a tool for a lifetime and it has the potential to cure many of our small ailments and will save us from many more that may come to us in our old age.
Similarly, for our mind, one of the methods in Yogic tradition is to sit silently for 10 minutes just before going to bed and just let all the negative thoughts flow out of our system with each exhalation. A simple practice of ‘Antar Mauna’ Inner Silence, expounded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the founder of Bihar School of Yoga, can do wonders for our sleep and for de-stressing of our mind . In this way before going to bed, we must leave all worries and anxieties behind and should try to achieve a sound sleep.
The mind feels stressed when we have fears or anxieties; fear and anxiety comes from attachment; attachment arises when we come in contact with sense objects without keeping a hold on our mind. In a way it is natural as well as wonderful for us humans, who have been gifted with sensory- organs and faculties, that we can and would see, hear, feel, taste, smell the objects of creation around us. The problem arises only when we start to bring our ego and start to either feel attachment to or detachment from i.e. attracted or repelled by these objects due to our own deeper inclination or samskaras. This then causes reactions in us which are sometimes undesirable and sometimes desirable and we get caught in a cycle of pain and sorrow.
A good prescription to keep our mental balance is to establish ourselves as witness of our sensory-faculties and before reacting to any situations that arise due to our contact with sense-objects, we should take stock of things without adding our ego into our reaction. To invoke, Lord Krishna again. He says:
Ye hi Samsparshaja Bhoga Duhkhayonaya Eva Te
Aadyantavanta Kaunteya na Teshu Ramate Budhah
[Chapter Five, Verse 22.]
[All these enjoyments arising out of the contact between senses and their objects - although they appear to be bringing joy to the sensuous people, yet they are actually a source of sorrow and are temporary and transient . Therefore, O Kaunteya ! a wise person does not get lost in them]. So developing witness attitude, the Drashta bhava is one key to resolve the attachment to the sense-objects and keep the mind free and at peace.
Purnima of Ashadha month in Hindu Calendar is celebrated as Guru Purnima. Guru Purnima falls on 31st day of the July month this year . Guru is a principle that drives the darkness of ignorance from our lives and leads us towards wisdom and light. In India we seek this principle in a human persona that has attained perfection in Human life and has become a Siddha. A Siddha Guru can help the seeker to find light and peace. May we all receive the blessing and grace of such a guru whether in Human form or in the form of energy and a principle. Om Shri Guruve Namah!