Meditation & The Mind

Meditation And Mind

Mind - Living The Opposites

The human mind is very complex:

  • The mind has very delicate and beautiful aspects
  • The mind has rough and tough aspects

In life you come across both. But neither life, nor these states mind, occurs with our permission. In fact, they often occur in direct defiance to our wishes and desires. Meditation can bring about a balance between the different states of the mind.

Mind – The Delicate Aspect

You kindle the soft, beautiful, and delicate aspect of your mind - when you are in touch with sattva. And this makes you feel good and elevated. But you can’t be like that all the time - otherwise, you'll be very vulnerable. Those who are so soft, crumble even when someone just gives a tough look. They start crying and feel shattered, often shutting down all communication.

When you feel nice and soft, you want everybody to respond to you that way too. At that point, a small thing can upset you. You start pitying yourself. The complaint - “nobody understands me" - comes exactly from this state.

Mind –The Tough Aspect

Sometimes you are so tough and hard, that there is resistance in you. You get stuck in the tough aspect - you become completely insensitive to the soft and delicate aspects of life.

Usually when you feel rough and tough, you’ve had a difficult time with something. Suppose you had a very rough day in your office; that rough and tough aspect of your mind is carried into your car while driving home, and then it gets carried into your house and spills over onto your spouse and children.

When you become rough and resistant:

  • Observe how long that continues
  • Observe how much it affects your moods and behavior in day-to-day life

Balancing The States Of Mind

The whole exercise in life is to develop your ability - to switch back and forth between the tough and delicate aspects of the mind.

The skill you should develop is - to develop the capability to be rough and tough one moment, and switch over to become soft, beautiful, and non-resistant, the next moment. This switch is tuning into the 'Yes' mind, that is your true inner spirit.

Ironically these two states come one after another.

You begin with the delicate state - and when somebody does not understand you - you become rude.

So too, rude people - when they realize they have been very rude - become delicate and soft.

Children are experts in making you feel and experience these opposite aspects of the mind. If you have children in your home, they'll make you rough and tough, and next moment can make you very soft and gentle - because you feel the inner connection.

The same goes for people you love most:

  • In one moment, you can feel a deep sense of belongingness
  • In the following moment you throw tantrums and fits

You can go through that cycle in 2 minutes.

Meditation To Balance The States Of Mind

Through meditation and letting go, you can switch from the rough and tough aspect to the delicate aspect within you. You can stand up when need be, and you can relax when need be. This ability is present within everyone, and meditation enables you to play these roles effortlessly. So, when you feel very rough, resistant, or angry - sit and relax, observe, and mentally let go.

Mind & Understanding

Let’s understand this completely to consciously incorporate this knowledge into our lives. There are 3 types of understanding - intellectual, experiential, and existential.

  • Intellectual understanding - you think you know, but all you hear is a jumble of words
  • Experiential understanding – this is at the feeling level. You feel it’s obvious. When you have had an experience, you want to understand more about it, so you become a seeker
  • Existential understanding – contains both intellectual & experiential understanding, but it is beyond both these. It’s irrefutable – existential understanding becomes your very nature. When a fruit becomes ripe, it falls. While that fruit ripens on its own karmic schedule, we can advance the ripening process by meditation

Meditation both sharpens the mind through focus, and expands the mind through relaxation:

  • An expanded mind without sharpness cannot bring holistic development
  • At the same time, a sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger, and frustration
  • The balance of a focused mind and an expanded consciousness brings perfection
Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,The Art of Living is an educational and humanitarian movement engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. Read More