Friday, August 18, 2017

A Balanced Mind

Perhaps in our lives everyday we don’t realize how our mind is pulled in different directions. In Bhai Sewa Singh Ji’s books I’ve read a lot about how our mind constantly escapes through our senses- through the pleasures of sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound in order to feed the 5- kaam, krodh, lob, moh and hankaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride). Our goal was to keep the mind inside, but it constantly escapes outside. The imbalance of the mind is so common a lot of us have forgotten what it means to have a balanced mind. It’s when we see it in other people that it becomes noticeable, even then it’s easier to recognize a mind pulled by anger and greed, than one pulled by attachment for example.

I used to spend a great deal of time overtaken by my emotions. Just to see injustices in the world would affect me. Then later I started to think that maybe there’s something wrong with being emotional and I really didn’t people to know that part of me. Finally, I came to understand that this part of me was part of the same trait that makes me caring, compassionate, and loving in life. It’s a part of who I am. The acceptance of my emotional self and embracing it as an important part of me went a long way to my personal growth. It keeps me from fighting what it means to be me, what is a defining trait of who I am. As I grew to accept it, I also grew to understand that the neutralized mind is an important one.

For some reason, I used to think that there were two extremes. That either you cared too much (you were overly emotional), or you didn’t care at all (you had no emotion). I didn’t realize that this too was something that requires a good balance. When we look at other people and they don’t eat, or sleep, or function when something goes wrong, you come to realize how damaging it can be to let the emotional mind take control. Of course the flipside is that emotion is also necessary for human connection and understanding each other. It took me a long time to realize that mellowing out the mind doesn’t mean not caring, but rather caring more deeply for ourselves and our own health. The mind is more resilient, and the body will function better when we find a good balance for it.

Upon hearing someone else’s story today, I realized how far I had gotten in my own journey of working on balancing the mind. I saw my own progress when I saw my old self in someone else. The tool-box of simran, kirtan, and reading/understanding Gurbani has helped to make life a lot easier and decisions a lot easier. It’s different when you are confident in a decision after you’ve done Ardas and taken a Hukamnama, and trust in Waheguru. It’s part of understanding that the game of life is played with the mind. I am still very much working on finding a more balanced mind in my job, but I have recognized the importance. Out of everything we see on a daily basis, we cannot carry that baggage home with us as a burden. There are some days I feel the stirrings of my mind being pulled in different directions, and I work on it, with Guru Ji’s help.

We need emotion to be compassionate and caring, and we need to also prevent that emotion from taking over. Let us each ask ourselves, is my mind balanced? 

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