Many people come to meditation with the intention of calming their mind or being relieved of stress. How is it that we get to the point in the first place? Why can’t we handle our own minds?
Outside World Connected to the Inside World
There’s that saying you are what you eat. Well it’s the same with our minds. How we engage ourselves in this world will affect the state of our minds. Everything that we take in through our senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, touch) makes an impression in our minds. It’s like having a hard drive with an endless amount of storage space!
What we put into the mind creates an echo. The conversations I have, the things I see on TV, the food that I can taste, will echo back in my mind. We really notice this when we’re trying to sleep at night. We replay all the things that happened through the day, the things we forgot to do, and that heated argument we had or even that memory from 10 years ago! Everything we have taken in via our senses will be stored and archived in the mind and can resurface at any time.
We need to recognise that connection between our outer world and our inner world. If we find that our minds are busy and cluttered, it is most likely that we have setup our life in that way. Constantly chasing goals, working overtime, partying all weekend, and never having the time to stop. So we need to be careful how we engage in the external world by recognising and observing that connection.
For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy. Bhagavad Gita 6:6
Becoming Friends with our Minds
The purpose of yoga and meditation is to bring the mind under control and detach from our external world. It is recognised that there is actual freedom when we bring the mind under control rather than the other way around. When there is actual freedom from the demands and hassles of the mind, we can then experience a much deeper sense of happiness and peace. Much deeper than the temporary happiness we experience from our external world.
So how do we experience this? Simply by adding meditation and yoga to our lives…in whatever way we can. Yoga and meditation encourages discipline for the mind, kind of like weight training for our bodies. It is a gradual process that becomes a daily ritual and then in turn becomes a way of living.
Mantra meditation has the added benefit of cleansing the mind and removing some of the negative ideas we have cultivated. It also gives us the motivation to make POSITIVE changes in our life. This then in turn will have a positive influence on our minds.