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Abstract Thinking: [31.02] - Anupreksha of Tolerance - The Process of Change - Tolerance

Published: 22.08.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

The principle behind the process of change is - tolerance, to endure. The capacity for endurance is very necessary for bringing about a change. Without forbearance a man cannot change. He is ever fearful of what others would say. All progress is thereby stalled. All movement stops when a man is preoccupied with what people, his neighbours and companions, would say. He, who wants to change himself, must stop thinking about what others would say. He is not really concerned with other people's opinions; "What should I do?" is his only consideration.

Acharyavar often says that if we were all the time concerned with other people's reactions, we would not be able to accomplish anything. We would have stopped dead where we were. All the progress that has taken place has been there because we never entertained any fears as to what people would say; instead, we concentrated on what should be done. What ought to have been done, was done. That is what accounts for our strong position today. Had we entertained fears, we would never have reached the present stage.

We must develop our capacity for tolerance. Tolerance means - to put up with the cold, to bear the heat. There is the coldness of winter; there is also the coldness of sentiment. Likewise, there is the heat of summer; there is also the heat of sentiment. Conformable hardship may be called winter, and the contrary pain may be called summer. The man who cannot endure the winter and summer, the heat and the cold, in his own life, continues immature. The man, who has not withstood the pleasant and the unpleasant in his psyche, remains imperfect. He is unnerved by the slightest difficulty. The immature person is often perplexed, whereas a mature person is not easily disturbed. An earthen pot, unless properly baked, is of little use. It can be no safe repository for water or anything else. It is not dependable. Likewise, an immature person cannot be trusted. Only a mature person is dependable. He who is ripened in the fire of sadhana, enduring the favourable and the contrary, with equanimity, becomes trustworthy. Otherwise even an old man of seventy may prove to be utterly undependable. Just because a man is old, does not make him reliable. If a man does not mature, he faces a great many dangers in life. To mature constitutes the process of change. For this, one has to pass through two fires - the fire of what is pleasant and favourable and the fire of what is contrary and hostile. It is difficult to withstand the fire of contrariety. But to endure the fire of what is favourable is even more difficult. The danger posed by favourable circumstances is far greater than that posed by adverse circumstances

Through meditation, it is possible to transcend both these situations and to establish discipline. A meditator makes use of his nasal sound and gains maturity. One's breath carries with it many chemical substances. These can act as conveyers and factors. Without breath-control, it is not easy to communicate a thought or to endure anything. But if we have learnt how to control our breath and to practise deep breathing and rhythmic breathing through alternate nostrils, we shall be able to endure all kinds of situations - favourable and adverse.

An adverse situation requires to be endured. When confronted with adverse circumstances, the brain gets heated up. There is excitement and the pineal and the pituitary are also terribly heated up. All these spots become highly activated. In a state of excitement, one has to endure it all. But if we practise deep breathing, we are greatly benefited. Whenever any contrariety permeates the mind and the mind flares up and excitement rages - immediately start practising rhythmic equable breathing and you will feel as if a vessel had intervened between fire and water. A fire is burning. Douse it with water and it will be extinguished but the water is wasted. But if you set a pot on the fire and fill the pot with water, the water will get heated and become a thing of utility. Water, when placed on the fire, comes to have a utility of its own and the same water, If dropped into the fire, is wholly wasted.

The process of breathing may be compared to such a vessel. If this vessel is properly utilized, the fire stands used and whatever is achieved thereby does not go waste; on the contrary, it is properly utilized. The energy spent in anger hitherto is saved and becomes a productive power. All strong passions, emotions and lusts consume and lay waste vital energy.

The fire is useful and so is water. Pour water into the fire and the fire will be extinguished and the water goes waste. If, however, we learn to place the vessel of equable breathing between fire and water, the water will not be wasted; instead it will become a thing of utility. The fire, too, will not be extinguished and, we shall be able to put it to various uses.

The practice of tolerance, the exercise of forbearance, is not possible without controlled breathing.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Brain
  3. Discipline
  4. Equanimity
  5. Meditation
  6. Sadhana
  7. Tolerance
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