Peace of mind

N Balasubramanian

Thoughts, desires, perceptions, ideations, cognition, reasoning, discrimination and decision are the products of mind. Sensations of sense organs are conveyed through nerves to the mind. Mind on receipt of sensation makes sense of these by comparing and evaluating with past impressions or past experiences or past knowledge and thus perception, cognition, thoughts, desires take place.

Alignment of the mind with particular sense organ is what we call attention. It is everyone’s experience that unless the mind pays attention thought cannot arise. In other words, mind must will to give birth to a thought. Behind every thought will of the mind is implied. What is this will? Acceptance of desirous thoughts by the mind for action is called the Will of the mind. How is this judging done by the mind. Will of the mind for action is proportional to intensity of desire. When desire coincides with instincts and inclinations, desire gets intense.

Pleasure is satisfaction of desire. Desire breeds more desire and thus we are continually engaged in the pursuit of pleasure and consequent turbulence in mind. How do we break this vicious cycle and attain peace of mind.  If thoughts are in harmony with our inner voice mind will be at peace and be tranquil. Only when thoughts defy the conscience there is unrest and turbulence in the mind.

Desires are of two types: Desires which call upon the mind to will for action against our conscience and the other type which call upon the mind to will in harmony with our conscience. Not all desires are willed to action – maybe due to fear of consequences or fear of law or fear of societal rebuke. We need to have just one more filter, namely, the filter of conscience; whether the will of mind for action has the nod of conscience. If this is exercised, peace of mind is certain. One good thing about mind is that though it is inclined to go along with tendencies, by repeated practice mind can be trained to think the way we want. It is everyone’s experience when mind is engrossed in something, breathing is slow and regular. Whenever you are absorbed in a thought you hold your breath. There is thus a direct relationship between breathing and steadiness of mind. Hence the daily practice of ‘Pranayama’ (the practice of controlled but disciplined inhaling and exhaling and even holding up in suspension) will lead to a steady mind and then on to tranquility and peace of mind. Mind is a tyrant but can also be turned in to a loyal servant.

With inner voice ever ready to guide the mind, why is the mind not seeking this guidance? It is because mind has become opaque with layers of doshas or impurities and shuts itself off from hearing the inner voice. Hence, the mind need to be freed from doshas such as anger, fear, lust, envy & greed.  How do we get rid of these? Any event that happens should be looked at just that, without mind coming in to play by naming it or terming it or judging it. When an event is treated thus it makes no impression, no recording for recall. Mind purified, inner voice can be clearly heard by the mind. Thus mind acts in harmony with voice of pure conscience; mind is tranquil and at peace. All these doshas or impurities are just feelings and only because of naming and terming and judging they get stored as impressions and become cause for turbulence of mind. Even joyous moments should not be stored as an experience. Mind will desire more of this experience thus making it a pleasure for more and more pursuit and such craving will only cause turbulence in the mind. It is apt to quote Swami Vivekananda in this context: “A word is like a stone thrown in to the lake of ’ chitta’. It causes a ripple which sparks a series of ripples”.

Practically speaking, we experience three types of adverse situations resulting to disappointments,  sadness etc and an uneasy mind. First, when there is gap between expectation of result and the actuality; second, when near and dear ones die; thirdly, when one is hurt by another.

When the result of your action falls short of or even go contrary to your expectation you feel disappointed, sad and miserable. The gap is because your expectation is pre-determined whereas action required is undertaken on your assumptions. There are only two ways of closing the gap: One by improving the action side of the equation or by scaling down your expectations. So focus on your actions without wasting time on the result. Only action is in the present and so just do your part sincerely and duty-minded. Result is in the future and just a creation of your action. So all your focus should be on the cause of result, i.e. action. Intellectually convince yourself that you can only reap what you have sown, that you can only get what you deserve and what you deserve will always be appropriate to your efforts. With such positive attitude, you will either be contended or you will focus on putting your best efforts to get to your desired result. In either case peace of mind is certain.

When near and dear ones die, it is natural to feel sad and miserable. Whom you loved most truly and sincerely you grieve most upon their death. The best way is to face the fact boldly with fortitude and forbearance. While time will take care you can quicken the healing period by your positive attitude.

When another tries to hurt or harm you, the best way to avoid getting hurt is to counter it with a smile and let it pass over the head. Never react and never react immediately. If you do you will certainly end up in internalizing the hurt and troubling your peace of mind. Immediate reactions are emotions. Emotions are sans the benefit of discriminating intellect. Even a minute’s pause will help calm your mind. How successfully you have preserved your peace of mind is the ultimate test of how well you have tackled a situation.

N Balasubramanian is an old time honours graduate in economics and has vast experience and expertise in human relations and resources development. A devotee of Sage of Kanchi - Maha Swamigal, N Balasubramanian is living a quiet and meditative life based upon the Guru's teachings. An avid reader of philosophy in his younger years, he wholly devotes his energies presently, in discovering insights and practical wisdom from ancient Indian scriptures. Based upon his understanding of Acharya's discourses and writings on spirituality, N. Balasubramanian shares these thoughts on to just provoke your thoughts and kindle your interest in spirituality and philosophy.  

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