Swami Chidananda says:
For most people, activities of life not only cause physical tiredness but also mental exhaustion. When we are wise, the latter reduces if not disappear.
A hundred people pass in front of a mirror and images of all of them are formed on its surface. However, they go their way and the mirror remains unaffected. Even the heaviest of those visitors does not leave behind a ‘residue’ through his or her image that was formed upon the mirror.
Can our mind also likewise be totally silent after a hectic day filled with interactions? Can it be silent in the sense of absence of regret, guilt, pride or other residues? Can it be quiet but vibrant, cheerful and available?
Shri Krishna calls this akarma in karma (Geeta 4.18). Non-action in action is when the action does not leave behind any noise in our mind. Ordinarily we go on remembering especially the moments of friction, compromise or contradiction. I should not have said that, or I should not have done that, etc keep coming up in our thoughts. Upon a close examination of the matter, we realize that all this is the result of self-importance. The ego in us is much upset if something goes wrong at our hands. I should be perfect and all should admire me, etc are the underlying assertions.
We cannot be quiet by deciding to be so. At the most it will amount to suppression, and the emotions suppressed will explode at a later time. Many people in the world take shelter under some ideal and, in its inspiration, are successful in making the selfish worries and agitations subside. Religious or secular models give us often a lift and we are able to put aside our sorrows of loss or defeat. The limitation here is that the ideals also tend to change and, as we evolve, we cannot receive the same inspiration from them as we did before. Further, many realities of life collide with the ideals we adore and we are torn between the ideal and the actual. Some of us even meet with a total disillusionment with regard to what we held before as the supreme truth or the most right way of living.
The healthiest way to arrive at inner peace is by giving up egoistic ways right away. We need not cling to some conceptual support (like an ideal) to do this. We need to directly see how our thoughts have given undue importance to I, me and my. What I said, how somebody ignored me and how my position was undermined – these are the crux of the matter. Let us not justify it all saying it is most natural. If we do so, then endless suffering also would be natural. Egoistic ways are not so much natural as they are wide-spread and common.
Our mind is in a true learning mode when we keep the ego under control. The ego is itself a bundle of residues and it further causes residues to be formed. Right in the present moment, we must perceive situations with full attention. As we do so, we gain understanding and move on. There is no burden of hurt or pride. Then, as Shri Krishna put it, though there was action (which normally strains us), it is as though there was no action (for the mind is free of all strain).
Wednesday, July 2, 2008