Eagle's Eye: Mental Development

Published: 06.12.2007
Updated: 10.11.2008

Central Chronicle
Thursday, December 6, 2007

Leave the mind free to empty itself, to run itself out. By adopting the above procedure a stage comes when there is alternation between a stable state and an unstable state of the mind.

Mind is a part of our awareness. It has a role both in our inclinations. To know one's mind is in some to know one's self. To be acquainted with its working is a sign of alertness. Thus, knowledge of the mind can be of immense use. Moreover, it can also enable us to develop its potentiality, power and mode of working.

Mind is half-way between the senses and self-awareness. The former has contact with the external world and awareness has the inner being as its centre. Mind analyses and experiences the output of both.

According to psyschologists genetics and environment are the two means of mental development. The first is a gift of nature; the second is generated by practice. Similarly, poets are also of two kinds- those who are born as poets and those who cultivate poetry. This is true of all fields of human endeavour. When Lord Krishna was asked how to control the mind, he replied:

Practice and detachment are the two means of controlling the mind and both require effort for neither is endowed by nature.

The sage Patanjali has also expressed the same opinion. Anything achievable through human exertion entails practice. Development requires sustained practice.

The great preceptor Hem Chandra has also shed light on the question of mental development. In this respect he mentions four contexts:

  1. Being unstable or distracted (Vikshep).
  2. Rising and falling or ups and downs (yatayat).
  3. Clinging or union (Shlisht).
  4. Complete absorption or dissolution (Suleen).

At this stage the sadhak (seeker) starts meditation in order to understand the mind. He comes to know that it is unstable. It is an illusion that prior to meditation the mind appears to be stable. The truth is that without meditation the consciousness of the true state of the mind does not down. All the underlying instability of the mind is revealed only by meditation. This is not difficult to understand. Normally we are too inured to mental instability to be aware of it.

If distractions and instability assail the mind when one starts meditation, it should not worry the seeker. It is like the last flicker of the lamp. When the ant puts on wings it presages death.

Swami Vivekanand faced a similar situation and complained about the storms of passion in his mind to his guru, Ramkrishna Paramhans. The latter acclaimed it as a very good sign and said that it showed how the mind was purging itself of inner filth that lay concealed in it. He advised Vivekanand not to suppress the rising passion.

Do not stop the mind from wandering. Just as sudden brakes applied to a speeding car or an attempt to sharply bring down high temperature can prove disastrous, any suppression of instinctual drives can also be harmful. Leave the mind free to empty itself, to run itself out. By adopting the above procedure a stage comes when there is alternation between a stable state and an unstable state of the mind. This is what is meant by Yatayat.

Cohering or clinging merely denotes a stage when mind is tuned to or united with the aim in view. Constant practice makes the two almost inseparable.

It means complete absorption in the aim almost like the dissolution of sugar in milk. Both maintain their independent existence and yet a certain unity is achieved. In Yoga terminology it is called Samarasi bhav or samapatti, ie a completely similar mental and emotional orientation. In this context the seeker and sought become totally fused into each other.

Patanjali has put it somewhat differently. With the mind wandering under vikshep there is no joy possible. Under Yatayat some joy of a transensual nature is possible. Under shlisht there is immense joy. Finally under Suleen there accrues perfect joy or bliss.

I read an article last year which spoke of two closely juxtaposed glands- one of happiness, the other of unhappiness. When excited the former creates infinite joy, that is, immune to all external circumstances. The latter, on the other hand, becomes the source of pervasive unhappiness.

Our sustained endeavour to seek spirituality excites the gland of happiness, so much so that even a momentary setback results in unhappiness. Because of our abysmal ignorance we are totally unaware of the boundless ocean of joy surging within us.

Central Chronicle, by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg.
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Central Chronicle
  2. Consciousness
  3. Environment
  4. Genetics
  5. Guru
  6. Krishna
  7. Lalit Garg
  8. Meditation
  9. Patanjali
  10. Sadhak
  11. Swami
  12. Vivekanand
  13. Yoga
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