Mind too….. Matters
By Arushi Kothari
What is mind? Where is it? Is it tangible? Does its existence need to be proved through scientific principles of repeatability, consistency and measurability? Most people spend their entire lives worrying about careers, performance, friends, relationships etc without spending a single minute to think about the elusive “I”. We are so filled with anxieties about the past and the future that we lack the emotional strength and mental clarity required to face present real life problems. We are so driven by our need for logic that sometimes we are unable to see the bigger picture. We are so overpowered by our complexes that we start questioning our own identity. Does that really make us a fulfilled individual?
The mind is like a machine. It needs fuel to run. Don’t fill it up, it won’t work.
It is essential for every individual to have a certain degree of self awareness. To be able to accept oneself, warts and all is a huge milestone sought and achieved only by a few. Why are we so uncertain of the comments made by people around us? “I’m sure she was being sarcastic. I don’t think she mean it” These thought often invade our mind and essentially uncover the ‘cynical’ us. Why are we so ineffective in getting over our own petty feelings that we can’t take a positive comment at its face value? To gain an understanding about one’s emotional worth thereby controlling it, is a power that is developed not inherited.
I am angry, I am sad, I feel jealous. These emotions are experienced by one and all. But not all are able to comprehend them and deal with them in a productive manner. An individual’s quality of life depends on his state of mind. You are happy, the world looks more beautiful. You are sad, suddenly gloomy days are here. There should be, therefore, no taboo in feeling certain emotions. Rather, there should be a realization as to how to deal with that particular state of mind.
A lot of my school years were spent calling up my friends the night before the exam to ask them the infamous question “How much have you done?” The sheer bliss that I experienced when I realized I am ahead of them was incomparable. But now that I think about it, I realize that the fact that my friends had not done as much as me does not help me in anyway. It only made me complacent about my own progress, and shifted my focus to irrelevant matters.
The Indian culture and literary traditions have always given a lot of importance to the mind. Yoga, meditation etc are breathing- based techniques which help gain control over the mind thereby emotions. Psychologists nowadays use these as alternative treatment possibilities to conventional drug treatment or psychotherapy. Corporate institutions are also increasingly using these techniques to help employees deal with stress thereby increasing productivity.
The importance of attention, concentration, and prioritization is known to all. But the techniques required to enhance these need to be inculcated and developed in every individual. The ability to focus mental attention to a certain task, to be able to set aside problems and refuel the mind need to be cultivated throughout an individual’s lifetime. In the words of Lord Buddha “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Mind matters. Money, job, relationships matter too but your emotional well being and fulfillment needs to take a front seat. ‘He said, she said’ will go on throughout your life but ‘I did’ will happen only when you realize that it is your thoughts and actions that truly make a difference.
A lot of people believe that these ideas are too abstract to actually pursue in really life. But the truth is that just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. To be able to rise above your limitations is the mark of a successful human being.
(The article is based on a talk on ‘Mind too… matters’ by Rohit Ranjan organized by the department of psychology)