Fear

(This is a translated part of Acharya Mahapragya’s book kaise soche)

A mind infested with fear always creates negative thoughts. Fear constricts the mind. Thus, a fearful person can never think right. The first condition for healthy, life-supporting thoughts is to become fearless.

But, what makes a person fearful? The answer is quite surprising. A person reels in fear because of his own notions. Personality develops on the basis of one’s thoughts and beliefs. And people develop such beliefs that as soon as a certain situation crops up in their life, they become fearful.

The first outcome of a person’s encounter with spirituality is fearlessness. The one who is not fearless is not spiritual. And he is neither disease-free. The root cause of diseases is fear. So is the root cause of strife and non-spirituality. Unless fear doesn’t leave the mind, how can a person experience their inner selves?

People talk about the soul and the supreme soul. Discussion about these subtle elements is useless if you have fears:  fear of disease, old-age, death, losing your dear objects, losing your beloved. You are paralyzing your consciousness with so many fears and then you want to talk about God.

We all know Lord Mahaveer emphasized on non-violence. However, there is something which many of us not know: he gave the same weight on fearlessness as he gave onto non-violence. Unless the feeling of fearlessness doesn’t strengthen, non-violence cannot exist. A fearful person cannot be non-violent.

People have fear of dying. If you die, the world will not become empty. Even the kith and kin who would cry on your death are not many.  For a few days, they’ll remember you and then move on with life. But, we are still attached to our life. Unless the attachment to life and death doesn’t slip away, constructive, positive thoughts do not make a firm position in our consciousness.

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Observing Thoughts

(This is a translated part of the acharya shree’s book nirvichaar ki or)

The Maze of Thoughts

Thoughts cause one to wander.When a man enters a maze, he gets lost at every step.He is unable to find a way out of it.The maze of thoughts similarly, is so huge that if one gets lost in it, it is not easy to get out of it.

A blind man ,once, entered a vastly spread four walled structure.There was only one doorway of entering and leaving. While walking he took the support of the walls and in his bid to leave, tried to find the doorway. When he came near the door, his head started itching. The moment he scratched his head, he lost the opportunity and got ahead of the door.

Humans are in a similar state. Thoughts create such a huge force of wandering that wherever one finds the door out of the maze, some kind of itching starts. We lose the opportunity to get out. The question is what to do? Should we leave thinking or learn how to think?The purpose of meditation is not to leave thoughts. If thoughts come, do not get upset. The purpose of meditation is to become awake towards thoughts. Observe thoughts. Do not get lost in their flow.

There is a door for entering a house. It is impossible to make an arrangement which disallows entry of anybody. But it is possible for the house owner to become aware of who is coming inside.The owner must be aware if the entrant is well- meaning or not.

If one is aware of thoughts coming to the mind, one can choose to ignore negative thoughts.Thoughts of causing hurt to someone, selfish thoughts, bad thoughts of any kind stop coming in a regular meditator as purity of consciousness is developed.

Another purpose of meditation is to stop unnecessary thoughts. If the thought process does not develop in a person doing meditation, no one would even come near it. We do not need to stop thoughts entirely. We just need to be free of thoughts which are nonsensical in nature. Such thoughts cause stress and burden the brain. People have sleeping problems because of such thoughts. There are many people who while sleeping are continuously thinking. They are unable to stop. Either thoughts come or sleep.

Objects  and Thoughts

The purpose of meditation is not stopping development of thoughts but on the contrary, it serves to develop thoughts. If unnecessary thoughts come then the power of thoughts will weaken and the ability to think clearly will decline. On the other hand, necessary thoughts will increase this ability. There are several problems regarding the field of thoughts. One problem is objects. Our development of thoughts is related to objects. Objects induce creation of thoughts. Remembering a sense object creates a series of thoughts. One’s selfishness and other emotions are also associated with objects. These associated emotions make different people think in different ways.

I’m reminded of a story. Once, a man educated his two children.One day, he sat worried. On being asked about his cause of worry, by a friend, he explained about a confusion he faced. He told him “One of my sons is a doctor and another is a lawyer. A few days ago, my leg got a little hurt in a bike accident. My doctor son says I must get it treated soon or else injury will deepen and my lawyer son  says that I must let the injury deepen so that a big amount of compensation can be obtained from the court. I’m confused as to whose advice should I follow.”

The basis of these two advices is indeed selfishness. Objects are associated with selfishness , making thoughts of the selfish kind. So many streams of thoughts have been developed and their purpose is gaining or creating objects. The acharyas of spirituality have, therefore, advised to not just develop thoughts. After a limit, we need to stop. The problem has been that there has been no regulation on thoughts and putting a brake on them was never considered important by the modern world. As a result thoughts have spread so much that today’s man is lost. Celibacy is a an example.In the language of psychology, sexual desire is a basic psychological desire.It is in every creature.Man developed it from a thought point of view and developed to an extent that now free sex is being talked about.

Results of crossing the limit are also showing up.People have reached dangerous diseases.Now, people are thinking that there must be some regulation.

Inner Consciousness

The first stage of human development is thoughts.Then, the second stage is that of thoughtlessness. the meaning of thoughtlessness is not becoming empty of thoughts.It implies after a certain limit, putting a stop to thoughts and awakening the consciousness within.It does not mean losing energy but developing it.Thought has great power but it is not as powerful as we think it to be.The ability of thoughts is much smaller when compared to the consciousness within.While the power of keval gyan is much more when compared to this state of consciousness or avadhi gyan.

The mind is not everything to us.It is a quality of human development.But we are more capable. Many times, you must have experienced- sitting at home, you suddenly have a feeling that some friend is going to be coming and the friend really comes on the same day.It is the inner consciousness at work.Knowing someone’s thoughts, knowing about an event before its occurrence  all are beyond the ability of the mind ;inner consciousness is at work in these cases.

Through meditation, we must open a new dimension, that of awakening this inner consciousness. The question is – when will it awaken? There are three conditions for its awakening –

  1. Thoughts of lower quality stop
  2. Unnecessary thoughts stop
  3. Thoughts of all kinds stop coming

This is the sequence of development. Do not think that sitting in meditation for a day will stop the influx of thoughts. This is impossible because we have numerous associations. A person sitting at home, is thinking about his work. One has come for a meditation program but one’s mind is occupied with worries about  one’s family  at home.

This is a rule – more elaborate are one’s associations, more will be the thoughts.Unless our stupor involved in these associations is not lessened, we will have to go through this flux of thoughts.

It is expected out of a meditator to stop worrying about thoughts. If thoughts come, what kind of damage do they incur  to you?When you get associated with these thoughts, then only are they able to influence you.When one is influenced by thoughts and gets worried over them, one is troubled.We must not flow with our thoughts.Let them come and go.

Vehicles run day and night on the road of chandani chowk in Delhi.If the shopkeeper near the road begins to give attention to these vehicles, he will go mad.He will not be able to perform his business.He ignores everything but his purpose of standing there – to make profits from his shop.A meditator, similarly needs to ignore this flux of thoughts.

The Power Of Seeing

If a lot of bad thoughts come up during mediation, meditation becomes impossible and if no thoughts come, we’ve reached the state of samadhi or equanimity and we would not require meditation.Therefore, our technique of meditation is a medium path.Observing thoughts has a lot of power.We must increase the practive of seeing. The meaning of seeing is becoming aware.The more we observe, the frequency of thoughts will reduce.Where there is no respect, nobody would like to come there.Similarly, if you welcome thoughts and make them your own, then these thoughts will try to become permanent guests.If you ignore, thoughts will go away on their own.The more this awareness rises, the problem will get solved gradually.