and the Mind
By Dr. T. R. K.
All Rights Reserved.
Among Yoga practices, one of the yamas
(or restraints) is to renounce the idea of ownership and doership. This booklet explores our habits of collecting material things, useless thoughts, and the problem of greed. It also discusses how to change these habits.
Collecting Things and Thoughts
So many of us have a tendency to collect things—clothes, knickknacks, anything we
like or think we can use. We accumulate so much and our closets are so full!
Just imagine if we had to wear our entire wardrobe at once. How funny we
would look! In the same way, our mind looks ridiculous when we use it to
collect useless thoughts. Having useless thoughts is as silly as trying to wear
many outfits at the same time.
We should not burden our life
with material objects, nor should
we burden our mind with useless thoughts.
What happens when we collect too
many things or too many useless thoughts in our life?
If we have a habit of collecting a lot of material things,
over a period of twenty or thirty years our closets, attic,
and basement will be full.
As the years go by, we will find that we have
neither the energy nor the time to manage so much.
And what about our mind?
The cluttered mind will be stuffed with memories, anxieties,
and shallow impressions. Unnecessary thinking disturbs our peace of mind.
For example, if we worry a lot we just collect anxiety and lose our creativity
and inspiration. If we carry anger in our mind, we collect tension and ill-will.
It’s easy to see the clutter in our closets, but our mind also stores a lot of clutter,
if we do not clean it up as we go.
We should not look to material possessions as
our source of happiness.
we are not
controlled by our mind and
senses, but guided by consciousness.
To clean up our material clutter we can use inverse propagation
(doing the opposite of what the mind wants). For example, if the mind
wants to buy something, we should ask ourselves if we really need it and
postpone the shopping trip. Usually, when we postpone shopping, the desire
for that object fades and we realize that we really did not need it after all.
We should be practical about our material needs. If we use material things
as tools for simple and healthy living,
we will not go overboard in accumulating them.
Whatever we buy has to be managed.
When we impulsively spend,
we waste resources we
could use for necessities.
Instead of becoming a victim to our whims,
we can use our energies
constructively for the good of our families and ourselves.
If we do not waste precious time managing our junk,
we will have time to spend with our loved ones.
To clean up our mental clutter, we need to clear our conscious and subconscious mind.
How? By learning to relax the mind through meditation. Meditation purifies the mind.
When we meditate we experience mental clarity and inner peace.
Also, we can learn to use our intelligence to let go of thoughts that cause us pain and
confusion. A wise person cultivates high thoughts that uplift the soul.
Instead of collecting useless thoughts, we should collect inspiring quotes,
books of wisdom, and wise friends. As we become deep, we do not want
to waste time in shallow friendships. We realize that we only want the company
of those who raise our consciousness and help us evolve to a higher state.
When we simplify our life, we improve
the quality of our inner life.
We should get to work on simplifying our life and tell ourselves,
"You are a noble soul, so tidy up."
Tidy the home, the mind, and the body. For example,
too much fat makes the body an untidy and unhealthy place to live.
In the same way, too much thinking creates mental fat, filling our mind with confusion.
We should keep our thoughts positive, simple, and inspired.
Instead of walking to the refrigerator, we should walk to keep our body healthy.
An uncluttered home, a healthy body, and a clear mind
makes this life very happy.
Beware of Greed
Greed is an endless sinkhole and comes
in many disguises. When we fulfill one desire, another desire arises.
We can never fulfill them all. We have to drop greed because it can cause a lot of problems.
For example, if we eat too much tasty food and become overweight, it can result in major health problems.
Some people gamble as a form of recreation, but gambling can
become addictive. They go gambling once and then want to go again.
Envying another’s wealth can cause anxiety, useless pursuit of more things,
and can even lead some people to cheat and steal to satisfy their greed!
If we have greed, we do not need
any other enemies.
Greed paves the way to poverty.
We Need to Set High Standards for Ourselves
It is useless to entertain the idea that other people are better off than we are, or have
something better than we
do. For example,
and fantasy lifestyles. If we do not watch
out, we can become fascinated by the
Greed clouds our perception and we become restless for other people’s wealth.
But, when we drop our shallow view of life, we see that underneath the glitter are
empty mansions occupied by people filled with unhappiness and broken dreams.
our consciousness, rather
than our material belongings.
When we become deep, we see the reality of people's lives and we are not fooled or
fascinated by outer appearances. We should not look at other people's
wealth or achievements and become envious and greed stricken. Why?
Because wealth and status are very temporary. We will not take anything
with us when we go. Only the good actions we do and the good qualities
we practice are ours. Why, then, should we be jealous of someone
else’s standard of living or status? Ultimately we have to realize that wanting things just to satisfy
Once we are simple,
it is easy to be
Training the Mind
Our tendencies, and how we train our thinking, affect our mental makeup and behavior.
We have to train ourselves to be deep and curb the tendency of shallow perception.
We have to train ourselves not to follow the whims of our mind. We have to replace
our materialistic inclinations and greed with simple living and generosity towards our
loved ones. We should get rid of whatever agitates our mind, whether
it is useless thoughts or attachment to things, and replace these with self-uplift,
wisdom, and meditation. We should work hard to maintain a good life,
but we should always put soul first.
If we are attached to our Higher Consciousness,
we will drop everything that is not essential for the well being of our soul.
When we use our energies for simplifying our thinking and our life, we gain more than wealth can buy.
We gain the peace of mind that comes from not having to manage so much on the material level.
We also gain the mental clarity that comes from using our mind for higher thoughts.
Living in our Higher Consciousness is our real wealth.
When we embrace simplicity, we live
in a royal state.