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May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Control Of The Mind?

Yoga is about control of the mind.

But how does this work?

Initially, why do we want to control the mind and how? It is because all tensions, unhappiness and suffering come from this mind. The impurities in the mind influence our life experience and how we feel. By purifying the mind, calming the mind, stilling the mind, can help us to understand our own mind and know how to deal with it. When we have the mind under control, we will be free from tensions, impurities and dissatisfaction that arise in the mind. We will be free from unhappiness.

Many people say that it is so difficult to control the mind and they gave up the path of mind control.

To control the mind is not easy, for sure…

Or we can put it in a more practical terms – We don’t have to control the mind but we don’t want to be controlled by the mind, or not to be influenced by the thoughts more accurately. Thoughts will always be arising and passing away, from one thought to another, it doesn’t matter if it is positive thought or negative thought, happy thought or unhappy thought. Let the mind be the mind, does what it wants to do, but we are not attached to it and not generate reaction towards the mind’s activities or thoughts.

When we say taking control over the situation, it means that we are the one influencing the situation and not the situation influencing us. It is the same for taking control over the mind. We are the one who is aware of what is happening in the mind and not being influenced by it. If we don’t have this awareness, we don’t know what is happening in the mind, but constantly getting involve with the mind, identify ourselves with the mind and associate with the state of the mind, and react towards the mind. And thus we are being controlled by the mind and being affected or influenced by it all the time. And so, we want to be free from the condition of this mind which is full of impurities, such like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lustful desire, dissatisfaction, disappointment, irritation, frustration, doubt, craving, aversion, fear and worry…

Mind control is about we become the master of our own mind and not being over-powered by the mind. We are the one who are in control of our action and speech, and not the mind controls us for our action and speech. If we are not attached to the mind and not identify nor associate with the mind, let the mind does whatever the mind wants to do, and we are not being disturbed or affected or influenced by the forever changing phenomena (thought waves) that are constantly happening in the mind, then we will be free from the condition of the mind or the state of the mind.

If the mind is agitated, it is just the mind agitated, not us. If the mind is calm and peaceful, it is also just the mind being calm and peaceful, not us. We are beyond the mind. We are the witness that is aware of what is happening in the mind, observing whatever the mind and the body are experiencing at the present moment now. We don’t have to react to what the mind feels, like and dislike, want and don’t want…

The state of the mind is constantly changing from positive to negative, from good to bad, and the other way round. It is full of impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lustful desire, irritation, frustration, disappointment, dissatisfaction, fear, worry, imagination, craving and aversion. If we are being controlled and influenced by the mind, we will be getting frustrated all the time because we only want to have good and happy experience and reject unpleasant and unhappy experience.

The perception of the entire world existence happens in our mind only. All the differentiation of good and bad, positive and negative, pleasant and unpleasant, they only exist in our mind. Without the mind, there is nothing to be perceived. Calm the mind, tame the mind, the “world” will be calmed and tamed. The thoughts are still there but they have no power to influence us anymore.

By doing the yoga asana, the breathing exercise, the concentration exercise and meditation, it can help us to have certain influence towards the mind, calming and stilling the mind, slowing down the thought waves, but not necessary to control the mind to be what we want it to be. We couldn’t, because the mind doesn’t belong to us. All the good and bad thoughts, positive and negative thoughts arising and passing away unceasingly, it is not in our control at all. All the thoughts come and go as they like, whenever they like. It is not up to us that we only want the mind to have good, positive and happy thoughts, and don’t want the mind to have bad, negative and unhappy thoughts. If we think we can control the mind like this, we are getting ourselves into huge disappointment and frustration.

It is like the sensations that arise and passing away throughout the body from moment to moment. These sensations do not belong to us and it is not in our control that we only want to have pleasant sensations and retain the pleasant sensations forever not changing. And it is not in our control that we don’t want to have unpleasant sensations and want to get rid of the unpleasant sensations.

The effects of the asana practice, the pranayama practice, the concentration and meditation are there to influence the energy, to calm down and to balance the energy, and at the same time this will influence the state of the mind as well. This is because the mind is influenced by the energy or the mind is moved by the prana. That’s why by doing yoga and pranayama practices can help us to have certain influence or control over the state of the mind. But even the state of calmness in the mind also is impermanent. We cannot attach to the calmness that comes from the mind due to the influence of the energy. That will change also. It will be disturbed.

By meditating, we are practicing non-attachment towards the mind and its activities. Stand as a witness observing all states of the mind. Let the mind be the mind. We are just an observer.

We should go beyond the mind and transcend all states of the mind (the dullness, the agitation, the calmness). Then true and lasting peacefulness is here instantly. It is always here, but it is beyond the function of the mind. Once we let go of the identification with the mind, and not associate with the state of the mind, then we will identify with this everlasting peacefulness which is not affected by impermanence, or energy, or conditions, or qualities. It is beyond happiness and unhappiness. It is beyond good and bad, positive and negative, pleasant or unpleasant. It is beyond birth and death, names and forms.

Within this peacefulness, is unlimited and unconditioned love, compassion and wisdom…

But the mind is not a bad thing at all… We should not judge the mind as something bad. The mind is just being what it is. It is not something good or bad… It might give troubles to us if we allow ourselves to be controlled or influenced by the mind. But it won’t give us any problems if we are not attached to it, and not being disturbed or affected or influenced by it.

We are being conditioned by our own mind, not the things or happenings out there that are conditioning us to be happy or unhappy.

And yoga is about freeing ourselves from the condition of the mind and the body. Be free from the condition of our life and the world.

The point is, we don’t have to control, or to change or to interfere with the mind, the body, the life and the world. But just by observing the mind, the body, the life and the world as it is, accept the present moment as it is, no craving, no aversion, everything is just being what it is. At the same time, we can perform our duty or perform any actions that is bringing beneficial improvement to the mind, the body, the life and the world, without attachment, without craving and aversion, without intention, judgment and expectation. Just like the sun, the water, the air, the earth and the space. They just give and provide, and are performing action that is supporting all the existence in the universe without any discrimination of good or bad beings, living beings or non-living beings, ancient or modern beings, happy or unhappy beings, wise or ignorant beings, selfish or selfless beings, healthy or unhealthy beings…

This is selflessness. This is compassion. This is renouncing the fruit of action. This is what yoga is about…

If we have attained yoga in ourselves, then no matter where we are and where we go, we see yoga in everywhere and everything.

If the mind wants to be negative, let it be but not attach to it, and let it go. If the mind wants to be agitated or depressed, let it be but not attach to it, and let it go. The mind can have likes and dislikes, but not let it determines our happiness and confidence, not let it controls our action and speech, not let it distracts us from our inner peace (which is beyond all the states of the mind).

May all be free from the condition of the mind. Be the master of the mind. Be the witness of the mind. Not being over-powered by the mind. Not being disturbed or affected or influenced by the mind. Not being controlled by the mind.

This is control of the mind.

We are the one who is in control of our own self, not the mind controlling us.

Be free.

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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