The Subversive Mind
Nowadays people are very concerned about terrorism, and as a result of mindless acts of terror, there is increased security everywhere we go. This theme was touched on during a talk at the Dera, where the speaker’s message was that we need to build our faith by increasing our contact with out inner Master through meditation.
When her talk was finished, instead of the usual practice of asking if there were any questions, Baba Ji took the microphone and in a very solemn voice said that he was considering whether or not to talk to us about a very serious problem. On reflection, he said, he felt it had to be shared with us. He cautioned us not to be afraid, but said that there was a terrorist situation at the Dera.
At this point, as one can imagine, the atmosphere became very tense. He said that they had received information that they were the target of a terrorist plot. Then as everybody experienced a feeling of alarm, Baba Ji went on to reassure us saying we should not worry as they had very good security and had managed to identify the terrorist organization behind the plot, which he said was called M-I-N-D. He said that we have a very good weapon to defend ourselves against it – the Shabd – upon which everyone burst into very relieved laughter.
Baba Ji’s words have been paraphrased, but they bring home to us the power of the mind and its terrorist activities against us. No one wants to live under the threat of terrorism, yet that is exactly what we impose on ourselves – we fill ourselves with terror through our own misguided thinking.
Immediately we perceive a conflict situation we develop a battle plan, identifying the terrain, the strategies and tactics to be employed. We choose the weapons of war: fear, worry, hurt, anger or whatever negative emotion we select. We load the weapon with poorly made ammunition: disinformation, misinformation, injustice and irrational thought, and then we command the onslaught against ourselves as we persistently fight ourselves. And then we wonder why we find life a constant battle!
Why does the mind find misinformation, disinformation and gossip so attractive? Why do we find the weapons for seeking the truth, our simran and bhajan, so unappealing? We crave excitement, and the ego thrives on a prolonged and difficult struggle – a constant battle of wits. From the moment we wake in the morning until we fall sleep at night, the churning chaos of the mind is thrust on us as it runs riot.
We need to take control of our thoughts and thinking so that we can live a life of peace and calm. The Masters give us simran and bhajan, very effective weapons to counteract our own mental terrorist activity – if only we would use them correctly and effectively.
Through the practice of simran we learn to do our worldly tasks while we simultaneously remain focused in our centre. During our ordinary daily activities we should try to continue the task of constant, unrelenting repetition, trying not to allow distractions to break our rhythm. We must focus on what we are doing. We should also never give all our attention to the mind and the external world, but hold back on some of our precious attention, keeping it focused within. At first this will take a huge amount of effort, but the Masters assure us that as time goes on, it does become habitual and automatic, requiring less and less effort until finally it becomes effortless, moving under its own momentum.
We need to be conscious and aware of this process so that we do not allow the attention to slip away and let the mind take over again. We must learn to keep that inner door ajar so that immediately the mind sounds the battle cry, we can call on the Master for help. Baba Ji has said that in the face of adversity we forget the Master. Sadly, when we need his help the most we close the door – we shut him out and stop our simran.
It is possible to control and reduce our negative thoughts and emotions. It is possible to create and increase our positive thoughts. It is possible to keep our simran going and to reach the ultimate nature of mind, which is pure. It just takes a little awareness and effort. As a Tibetan Buddhist master wrote:
The mere recognition of awareness will not liberate you. Throughout your lives from beginningless time, you have been enveloped in false beliefs and deluded habits. From then till now you have spent every moment as a miserable, pathetic slave of your thoughts! And when you die, it’s not at all certain where you will go. You will follow your karma, and you will have to suffer. This is the reason you must meditate, continuously preserving the state of awareness you have been introduced to.… But if you do not meditate and get used to it, you will be left like a baby on a battlefield: you’ll be carried off by the enemy, the hostile army of your own thoughts.
Dudjom Rinpoche, Counsels From My Heart