Mindscapes and Mindstates

Namaste all
Was driving to Brickfields today. The traffic scene just after the Volvo showroom was one of congestion for the last few months due to construction works. Today the scene was one of welcome difference. The bridge over the river has opened, and people seem to driving over it with great relish. The thing is, scenes keep changing, whether it is landscapes, seascapes or skyscapes..

And same with our mindscapes too.. Sometimes so resourceful, so positive.. but then other times, not so..

In varying degrees of intensity and frequency, we all perhaps experience those times when the usual expanse of the mind seems to shrink into itself and its natural radiance swallowed by huge shadows of worry,. This muddled, stagnant state of consciousness is what scriptures term as mudha chitta.

‚ÄòBe aware.. look deep into this state’ etc are common advises to counter the condition. It might help too. However, beneath the thin veneer of a stagnant consciousness might be coursing the deep currents of various afflictive thoughts. And sometimes the introspective digging might crack the mudha state, only to have the magma of molten thoughts to flow out, which burns the consciousness bit more. This state of burning agitation is called kshipta. Now how do we consciously try to lift our awareness from these afflicted states and drive towards more wholesome and empowering states of consciousness?

There is no easy answer.. but one way is to really focus on bodily sensations.. the ancient scripture Sankhya karika points out that the three inner instruments of intellect, mind and ego always indulges in the future and past. What always remains grounded in the present is the body, along with the sense organs. So by focusing mind, ego and intellect into the body and senses, we can discipline them into being present in the ‚Äònow’.. and then, as it deeply immerses into the moment, abidance with a more wholesome, empowering mental state can be realized.

Recently I was just outside the Temple of Fine Arts institution, waiting for a friend. The mind was really restless about certain challenges and hence decided to try to use the wisdom of the sankhya.

Attended to the eyes, and then, right there, on the cement floor was a group of ants. Found one ant which was carrying a grain or seed which was so much more than its size. It was meticulously carrying the seed somewhere. In between it stopped, and then again moved. Found the whole scene deeply inspiring. That ant became like a guru in that moment; its focus on the moment and on what it was doing was so deep.. it was really seeing that grain as its whole world in that moment, and not giving up, thinking ‚Äòthis seed is so big.. i am so small.. cannot cope with the weight’ etc. After a while it went into the grasses. Then saw the plants there. Slowly, the design of some of the leaves started to really strike the mind. The colour, the texture.. such beauty and intelligence. Remembered an ancient text which spoke of the ‚Äònadis’, (subtle energy channels within) as similar to the crisscrossing fibres in a leaf. Then somehow eyes fell on my palm.. and seeing the lines in the palm, it somehow looked like the same triangular leaf.. the leaf then became like a guru, directing my thoughts to nerves, to nadis, to energy..

Couldnt help but sense an interconnectedness with everything around.. a sense of equanimity

Until my friend came, forgot everything but the awareness of the leaf, the ant, the palm and the body…. mentally saluted the spiritual foundation of Temple of Fine Arts, Swami Shantanand, as well as the Buddhist temple right in front of me, and left the place..

And then at home, turned the pages of my old diary where i had written down inspiring literature so many years back.. and then I found this- some lines of a poem by William Blake- so coincedentially nice that I thought of sharing with you…

‘To see the world in a grain of sand,

And heaven in a wild flower;

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour’.

So, right now, let us look calmly at whatever life is throbbing rt in front of our eyes.. if we can let go of preconceived ideas of it, and simply look, the pure energy and intelligence of it, and perhaps some underlying unity, in some deep hidden way can be felt.. and some joy will start to be experienced..