The Four Solutions

The following post is based on Acharya shree’s hindi book, mastishk ka prashikshan

Post continued from ‘Developing control on our brain’

The four solutions of emotional refinement are:

Swadhyaya

Swadhyaya  is a method by which emotions can be changed. Cultivating conducive thoughts, reading and contemplating quality literature can help in changing vruttis. This is one idea for refinement. It is difficult to say how effective this method is. It is effective if practised in the right way. Today the meaning of swadhyaya has been reduced to just reading, which doesn’t bear quality results. Along with reading, the practise also requires contemplation.

The man of today reads a lot but does not change. He listens to spiritual talks but does not transform. This is because just reading and listening is not enough. Eating  a meal takes just fifteen minutes. However, digesting it takes three hours. Similarly, reading a piece of text needs a few minutes but digesting it needs a lot more time. If one page has been read, then digesting it requires the time needed to read fifty pages. What is obtained after contemplation or manan proves instrumental in changing emotions.

Ancient belief says – “One prahar (morning /afternoon/ evening) must be reserved for reading and another must be reserved for reflecting upon what one has read.” This stands true for all kinds of studies, be it spiritual or non-spiritual.

Meditation

The second factor is meditation. Through meditation we directly influence our prana or vital force. During the meditation process*, we direct our focus at particular centres. Focusing implies a union of the consciousness and prana.  Wherever the consciousness is focused, there the flow of prana increases. The increase in the flow of prana destroys any kind of blockage at that point – be it a blockage at the physical plane, mental plane or emotional plane.

The ordinary meaning of preksha is observing. But observing does not mean observing with the eyes. Rather it implies a special method of observing, which is experiencing with equanimity – a state of mind that is devoid of craving and aversion. This is a powerful method which purifies emotions.

Someone who learns the art of observing, (s)he becomes active in changing oneself. If thoughts come, observe them. In a few minutes, thoughts will disappear.

Carl Jung is one of the pioneers of modern psychology. He wrote – when I was ill, I went to a psychotherapist. The therapist asked mr to lie down, relax, and asked what is it that you’re thinking. The moment I observed my thoughts, they disappeared.

Imagination, memory, and thoughts produce aggravation. Only through observation, all kinds of aggravations silence down. That is why, whatever is happening in the body, brain, and emotional plane, observe. When the focus on observing increases, the mind will become peaceful.

Emotional Purity

It is not possible for a continuous flow of good emotions.  Emotions are so unique that one is unable to understand them. Emotions stay pure – this is not so simple.  It is necessary to support all the different kinds of reactions within us. There are several supports declared for the same. With these supports, we reach a state where pure emotions flow. Our goal is to reach a state devoid of impure emotions. As soon as we reach this goal, supports are not needed, just like a boat becomes stationary as soon it reaches the shore.

Tapasya

Simply put, the meaning of tapasya is developing endurance. Anybody who doesn’t work hard and cannot endure pain, cannot progress.

When an individual is capable to endure all kinds of  situations, change shall take place.

Conclusion

The above four are the mediums of change. They are not a pathway to suppression but a pathway of refinement of negative emotions.  And when negative tendencies are improved, the flow of life changes.

These four instruments are related to meditation. If we centre our lives around meditation, I think our lives can progress to a great extent.

*It is recommended to learn any meditation process by trained professionals. Practicing without supervision is not advisable.

Developing Control On Our Brain

The following post is a translated part of Acharya Shree’s hindi book, mastishk prashikshan

Our brain is driven by electric current and chemicals. Which chemical creates which kind of reaction and putting an electrode in which part of the brain can create which kind of reaction – these facts are very clear today. In our body, there are centres for the creation and control of emotions and reactions. There are centres which produce emotions and disturbances and there are centres which control them. This is an internal process which continues naturally.

There are two divisions of our nadi sansthan (system of blood vessels)- self-driven, and the other is facultative. Through the self-driven system of blood vessels , internal activities happen on their own. If there is a centre for the generation of anger, then there is a centre which can subdue the anger. Both faculties are present.

Modern psychology says that the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, hypothalamus, and some parts of the brain and nadi sansthan – these parts are responsible for controlling impulsive emotions. However, yoga and spirituality indicate factors other than body systems to control emotions. And these factors have a direct relation with god. Through emotion- centric processes a transformation can be brought in these centres.

It is important to note that a transformation brought with chemicals or with the use of electrodes cannot be permanent. Injecting an appropriate chemical may silence anger but the effect cannot be long-lasting. Same with the use of electrodes.

And this is where meditation plays a role. Many question what is the purpose of long-term meditation practices? If with injections, external medicines, and electrodes emotions can be controlled within a second, why to meditate? The answer is that meditation unlike these things is more of a permanent solution to the disturbances of our mind.

Physicians have found solutions only on the basis of the body while psychiatrists have found solutions only on the basis of the brain and mind. They haven’t found the true source of emotions and the reason for their production. This is a very subtle secret. That is why sometimes research findings happen to be contradictory.

The path of spirituality is a path free from contradictions. It is a path of clarity. It is a process of refinement. Today many have this delusion that Indian philosophy teaches the process of suppressing emotions. A religious philosophy teaching suppression cannot be religion. It can be something else. Whether it’s sex, anger or any other emotion, Indian philosophy does not teach suppressing them.

The purpose of religious philosophy is refining emotions. The four establishments of psychology to refine emotions are – suppression, sublimation, voluntary decision and intellectual decision. And the four establishments of Indian religious philosophy for refining emotions are – self-study, meditation, emotional purity and tapasya or endurance.

(To be continued..)