Abstract Thinking: [25.02] - Anupreksha of Mental Equilibrium - The Criteria for Psychological Health

Published: 01.07.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Using the technique of 'personality parameter', psychology has laid down the following six criteria for the evaluation of man's personality and mental health.

The first parameter is - apparel. What kind of clothes does a man wear? How self-vigilant is he? His inner happiness can be determined by his manner of dressing himself. The apparel oft proclaims the man.

The second parameter is - behaviour.' How does a man conduct himself in various circumstances? The mind of a person, who acts in a balanced or unbalanced manner by fits and starts, cannot be said to be healthy. A person possessed of a sound mind will not lose his equilibrium even if his interlocutor grossly misbehaves. He will always behave decently. Through his own good behaviour, he will bring about a change in the other person's conduct or at least oblige the other person to think, "How polite and well-behaved is this man."

The third parameter of mental health is-right thinking. One big cause of mental disturbance is that a person does not know how to think. He sits down to deliberate upon something, and his mind starts wandering. He simply does not know what to think about and how. A man's whole life, all his activity, is determined by thought. But he does not know how to think. While engaged in thought, many arguments, pros and cons, present themselves before him, leading him astray. A man is judged by his thought. By analysing a person's ideas, one comes to know what kind of a person he is. It is through his ideas that his mental health can be determined. When the mind is healthy, a man's thinking is sound. He looks at everything in the right way.

The fourth parameter of mental health is - response, a person's response to different situations is indicative of his mental health, or otherwise. If someone passes a bitter remark, it is not necessary to pay him back in the same coin. When a man reacts and answers tit for tat, it shows how sick his mind is. If the father is possessed of mental health, he will not be upset by his son's anger. Rather he will say, "My son: It does not matter. Please have patience and consider the whole thing calmly." People generally think that if son displays anger, his father has the right to display even greater anger. How else to maintain his parental authority? Such thinking is symptomatic of mental ill health.

The fifths parameter of mental health is - character. What kind of nature does a man possess? Is he indolent or hardworking? An optimist or a pessimist? There are some people who will find a cause for despair in the midst of great prosperity; there are others who discover a ray of hope even in the midst of rank despair. An optimist fills even prosaic surroundings with hope and enthusiasm. That a man should be optimistic and always talk with enthusiasm is not something unreal; it is embracing the reality of life, not an escape from it. The optimists-those who find hope even in the midst of despair-turn a fact of life into a truth which can be implemented.

The sixth parameter of mental health is decisiveness. Is an individual capable of taking the right decision? Is he capable of taking it immediately? Often there is too much thinking and no decision. A person's mental health can be determined on the basis of all this.

These are the six parameters suggested by psychology for the appraisal of mental health. We examined the principles of equanimity from the spiritual point-of-view and those of mental health from the psychological point-of-view and came to the conclusion that a person who lives a balanced life, a life of equanimity, of tolerance, who does not thrust his mind into the furnace of passions and cares, enjoys mental health. Mental health, indeed, is the fruit of equanimity. The man, who has not properly valued equanimity, may be said to have never worked for the preservation of his mental health. On the contrary, the man who has found equanimity and equipoise looks upon his mental health as a valuable trust which he must preserve at all costs. In fact, equanimity means mental health and mental health is equanimity.

  • 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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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Equanimity
  3. Tolerance
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