Radiant Immortal Atman! Beloved sadhaks and seekers upon the path that leads to liberation and bliss! You are the few, you are the rare, you are the unique that have chosen a spiritual way of life. Other aspects of your life, physical, mental, psychological, social, professional, have become secondary to you, something you suffer or tolerate because they are inevitable. (A profession does not necessarily mean a career-building, income-producing, go-getting activity. If you profess teaching or religion or Yoga, that is your profession. It may be totally selfless, altruistic, dedicated; nevertheless, you have a profession.)
Your uniqueness is that you are trying to think out ways and means of making all the other aspects of your life supportive to the spiritual life that you have chosen for yourself, not obstacles to it. You are pondering these questions and are struggling to convert your personal life, professional life, and social life in relation to others into a supplementary and complementary process to your overall spiritual life.
In this process, more precious than gold or silver or diamonds, more precious than any wealth—your greatest wealth, greatest asset, greatest power, greatest friend, greatest helper—is your mind. In your mind you have an ally. In your mind you have an ever-ready friend, twenty-four hours of the day and night. Even when you are alone, abandoned, helpless, you are in dire distress, in a dangerous predicament, ever-ready at hand is your mind to help you, to guide you, to show you ways and means to overcome.
Do not underestimate the value of your mind. It is your precious friend. It is your great well-wisher. It is an invaluable helper. It is a source of all good. Know it as such, treat it as such, utilise it as such. Then you will be wise. Then you will rejoice.
It is not always right to denigrate the mind, to think of it as your enemy. You can make it your enemy; you can make it your greatest liability. If you are foolish, if you are thoughtless, if you are not wise, if you have failed to grasp this important implication of the scriptures and the teachings of great teachers, then you will always be struggling with your mind. You will be lamenting in your mind, “I want to be very good, but my mind is very bad to me; it is not allowing me to do good. I am really a good person, but mind is dragging me down. Mind is doing this, mind is doing that.”
It is not so. On the contrary, you do not give a chance to your mind, you are very unkind to your mind. You do not recognise its precious value; you have not understood it. You are doing what is called: “Give a dog a bad name and then hang it.” You are committing sins of commission, and an even greater number of sins of omission, towards the mind. Mind is Para Sakti, mind is God’s gift to the individual soul, mind can grant you liberation. There is nothing in the whole world that is so constantly at your beck and call, so constantly ever-ready, ever-present to do your bidding and to help.
The whole career of a surgeon may depend upon the condition of his surgical instruments. The whole career of a master painter is in his brushes and his colours. The life of a soldier depends upon the condition of his rifle. Have you considered how carefully they look after and care for that upon which their entire life depends, their entire career depends? Dancers will insure their legs for millions of dollars; master pianists will insure each finger for millions of dollars. They care for and guard carefully that which they depend upon, and it, in turn, is good to them, helps them, gives them everything they want.
Therefore, you also safeguard your mind, protect it, take great care of it, treat it with kindness. Its enemies are rajo guna and tamo guna. Its enemies are temptations in the form of outer attractions, the inveterate habitual tendencies of the senses towards sense-objects. Its enemies lie in the lower self-lust, anger and greed.
Therefore guard your mind from the lower self, from these dark, negative tendencies, from bad company, from idleness and from the assailment of old samskaras (mental impressions). Keep it occupied, keep it positive, take it into good company. Try to keep it in an elevated state. Do not allow the lower mind to drag it down. Be your own best friend. Be the best friend of your mind; befriend it.
Then, what will it not do for you? There is nothing that it will not do for you; it will do everything that you want. It depends upon your way of dealing with it, your recognition of its preciousness, its true place in your life, its great significance and its meaning for your liberation, for your highest good. Be good to your mind. Do justice to it. Do not always throw stones, make it a scapegoat. Realise that it is God Who has given you your mind, and therefore you are a human being; otherwise you would be an animal. And when God has made you a man with a mind, be a real human being.
Think deeply. Then you will realise what the mind is to you. It is to be utilised, channelled; it is to be educated, strengthened, and supported in every way. You must nurture it and make it your greatest asset. This requires clear perception, wisdom and active effort. It is laziness that ruins the mind. Take pains, be willing to take the trouble. You will not regret it. It will repay you a thousandfold. Ponder well this inner situation of yours. Ponder well this fact: how great a thing the mind is, how much you owe it.
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
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