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July 9, 2014

Balancing The States of Our Minds. ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

meditating

Have you observed what is happening in your mind every moment?

It vacillates between the past and the future. It is either in the past, occupied with what has happened, or in the future thinking about what you have to do. This is the first tendency of the mind.

Knowledge is being aware of this phenomenon of the mind—of what is happening right now in your mind as you are reading this article. Information can be acquired by reading books or browsing the Internet, but the awareness of your own mind cannot be learnt from a book.

There is another tendency of the mind—it clings onto the negative. If 10 positive events are followed by one negative event, the mind will cling to the negative. It will simply forget the 10 positive events.

With meditation however, we can become aware of these two tendencies of the mind and bring it to the present. Happiness, joy, enthusiasm, efficiency and effectiveness are all in the present.

The human mind is complex. It has its delicate and tough aspects. If we have had a misunderstanding with a friend or colleague at work, we can become stiff inside and this can distort our emotions, leading to negativity—and we carry this negativity wherever we go.

However, when we culture our minds with meditation, its tendency of holding on to negative emotions simply disappears. We gain the ability to start living in the present moment and are able to let go of the past.

Is meditation foreign to us?

Absolutely not! You have been in meditation for a couple of months before your birth. You were in your mother’s womb doing nothing. You were there happily floating in the fluid, turning and kicking, sometimes here and sometimes there. That is meditation. You did nothing. Everything was done for you. So there is a natural tendency in every human being, in every soul, to crave for that state of absolute comfort.

Balancing the States of Mind

In our day-to-day lives, we come across all kinds of situations that can be challenging and demanding a degree of alertness to be able to make good choices. These situations give rise to different states of mind, and neither life nor the states of mind occur with our permission. In fact, they often occur in direct defiance to our wishes.

Meditation can bring about a balance between the different states of the mind.

We can learn to switch from the tough aspect to the delicate aspect within us. We can stand up when needed and let go when needed. This ability is present within everyone, and meditation enables us to switch between these states effortlessly. The whole exercise is to develop an ability—to switch back and forth between the tough and delicate aspects of the mind.

We speak through our vibrations. If our vibrations are all stressed up, then we convey only stress and create repulsion among people around us. That’s why so many conflicts happen. When we cleanse our presence, I would say, through meditation, our vibrations become so pleasant, so palatable, so positive and we create positivity in our environment. And that’s so essential today.

One of the biggest deterrents for people not being able to meditate is that they don’t have enough time. Yet when they start to meditate, they find they have more time, because they are able to focus and get more done. Not only that, the regular practice of meditation also leads to greater intuitiveness. It sharpens the mind through focus and expands it through relaxation.

With the integration of meditation into one’s daily life one’s mind and energy gets uplifted and, a fifth state of consciousness, called cosmic consciousness, dawns.

Cosmic consciousness means perceiving the whole cosmos as part of oneself. When we perceive the world as a part of us, love flows strongly between the world and us. 

Even a glimpse of this consciousness, can make your smile so strong that nothing whatsoever can take it away from you. Nobody can make you miserable; nobody can take away the joy from your life. With just a glimpse of that which is expanding within us, life assumes a different dimension. 

Rest and activity are opposite values, but they complement each other. The deeper we are able to rest, the more dynamic we will be in activity. Planning can hold us back from diving deep into ourselves. Meditation is accepting this moment and living every moment totally with depth.

Restlessness, agitation, desire and ambition stir up the mind and keep it engaged in planning for the future or being regretful about the past. Real freedom is freedom from the past and future.

The confluence of knowledge, understanding and practice makes life complete. When we grow into higher states of consciousness, we find that you are no longer thrown off balance by different situations and disturbances. 

Regular practice of meditation can transform the quality of your life by culturing the nervous system to maintain peace, energy and expanded awareness throughout the day. We become beautiful yet strong, capable of accommodating different challenges in life without any conditions.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Rachael Towne/Flickr

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living. Sri Sri’s programs have provided assistance to people from a wide range of backgrounds – victims of natural disasters, survivors of terror attacks and war, children from marginalized populations and communities in conflict, among others. As an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plays a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his vision of non-violence at public forums and gatherings world-wide. Visit his website, Facebook at /SriSriRaviShankar and twitter @Srisri.