Positive Thinking - Make up Your Mind
by Swami Veda Bharati
You determine your mind by the thoughts you think moment to moment. So choose the mind you wish to have and think it into being.
In the previous articles we have described the aims of Indian psychology up to its penultimate goal. The rishis did not study the secrets of the mind by observing animal and human behavior. They studied and analyzed it by using themselves as guinea pigs. What happens to the mind if it concentrates on a flame for one hour a day for six months? What happens to it if the object of concentration is flowing water, or a dot, or a certain thought? They observed the changes in the states of consciousness and recorded their observations in short scientific formulae, sutras. We can understand these formulae and replicate them only if we replicate their methodology, the steps in self-experimentation. This is why the practice of meditation is the lab work of spirituality.
The formulae on the mind are not to be found in one single text. They are scattered throughout the literature that serves as a guide to different contexts of life. The actual methodology and the guide to experiments is found in the oral tradition of the meditation masters and its aims can be achieved through discipline, anushasana.
We cannot learn to use our minds in sattvic patterns, as described in the previous sections of this article, without first learning how our minds are formed, from what sources is the mind derived.
o The true field of our individual mind is a wave of the universal mind. It is the purest crystal, the most beautiful place in the universe; nothing can be more beauteous, more glorious, more illuminated and calmer than this wave-field. It is closest to atman than any other entity in the universe.
o At the moment of being conceived into the current body, we bring from the past lives all our samskaras, imprints of past actions and experiences, whether they be sattvic, rajasic or tamasic.
o The mother-mind and the father-mind are infused into this wave of the universal mind which is patterned by previous samskaras, subtly altering the pre-existent pattern, imprinting on it the mother-father samskaras to a certain extent.
o From the moment of conception, whatever is happening in and to the mother's mind is being passed on to the mind of the fetus. The fetus is not merely taking physical nutrition through mother's body, its mind is being constantly reshaped.
o The kind of sattvic, rajasic or tamasic food the mother eats also impacts the fetus's mind. So, for example, the food (a) obtained by causing pain to creatures will create a painful mind prone to hurting living beings, and (b) cooked with anger, it will contribute to creating an angry mind.
o From the moment of conception, the mind is constantly in a state of flux and change. It is never the same from moment to moment. A moment, kshana, is defined by the yogis as the time it takes an atomic particle to traverse to an immediately contiguous point in space. In that moment, each moment, the mind is reconstituted, has changed from its preceding state. This is a person's primary education.
o The processes that go into the making of a fetus's mind continue after the child emerges from the womb. At first the parents, immediate family and others determine the composition of our minds but, later, throughout life we ourselves are choosing the constituents of our mind moment to moment. Our attitudes, temperaments, inclinations, habit patterns, addictions, mental engagements, are all being set in this way; some being weakened by making different choices, some being strengthened.
Whatever we fill our minds with is what we become. Yo yach-chhraddhah sa eva sah. These determine our pleasantness or unpleasantness; our social skills or clumsy communication; violence or docility; our success in marriage and profession or dismal failure. All depends on how we constitute and reconstitute our minds moment to moment. Our happiness or suffering, success or failure, are not created by 'others'. They are our own doings.
Let us not blame our parents for our unhappiness and lack of success. The freedom of will is always at our disposal which we can use to alter our own mind's composition, and thereby our future and fate. The will is an innate attribute of our spiritual source of which we have not yet spoken - but hope to do so in the forthcoming discussions. Freedom means freedom from our psychological patterns by the application of the resources of the spiritual will.
"No one loves me". If this is your complaint, learn to become lovable. "No one listens to me". If this is what many hear from you frequently, tune your mind to a state whereby others do wish to hear your tone of voice. Choose what you wish to be, and start working on that state of being by cultivating the relevant thoughts. If you wish to be perceived a certain way by others, let that kind of fragrance in words, tone, body language, manner of glance, exude from you.
What we are is primarily what our mind is. What do you wish to be? Cultivate that being by cultivating that kind of mind. Have you been ignored? Disliked? Opposed? Become such that no one is ever again inclined to ignore you, dislike you, oppose you.
Select the thoughts that are conducive to cultivating that kind of personality. Think those kinds of thoughts repeatedly, and in time, without any effort on your part, others will say, "S/he has changed, has mellowed, has become so likable, lovable, so inspiring, such a loving guide".
Often in the course of spiritual counseling I hear spouses and others in relationships say, "Oh, Swamiji, s/he will never change". My question always is: Would you change? Take the initiative. Your act is your act; the samskaras you wish to imprint upon yourself are of your choice. The kind of personality you wish for is yours to choose. Through being the way you wish to be, you will evoke the desired responses from others.
There are two reasons that induce people to say 'yes' to someone. Fear. And love. May you be such that your presence melts hearts and all are inclined to say 'yes' to you - not because they fear you but because they love you so.