When the human mind becomes fossilised in thought process, it assumes the monstrous shape of ego. The impish and subtle innocence gets lost and a hardened ego takes the shape of avarice and anger, writes Ravi Valluri
Aeons ago lived a disciple who was under the tutelage of an estimable Zen master. Even though he meditated unflinchingly, his mind was filled with zillions of vexing thoughts. Thus, he became a quotidian victim of resentment. Instead of being a lodestone, he was shunned by the other tutees of the Temple of Knowledge. Once a cynosure of a gargantuan number of disciples, he was now persistently rejected and virtually quarantined.
Befuddled, in sheer exasperation he approached his teacher and blurted, ‘Master, while I have been practicing the credo and canons of Zen unfailingly, I have been rebuffed by my colleagues. There is an enormous load in my heart and consequently my mind is distraught.’ Further he added, ‘Holy Master, I beseech you to extricate me from this cesspool of rejection.’ The Zen Master smiled and closed his eyes and after a few minutes of cogitation said, ‘Son you are simmering with extensive anger and I discover that over a period of time you have developed an uncontrollable temper. Consequently, fellow devotees and tutees have developed towering antipathy towards you.’
He continued, ‘You were virtually on the verge of excommunication from this Temple of Knowledge. However, you were given a fresh lease to pursue meditation and various Buddhist techniques by the clergy to squelch the demons in your mind. Like the Enlightened one, they did not reproach you so that you could spread the quintessential truth of solicitude and benevolence.’
‘Upon joining the seminary, you dazzled everyone. Through your methodical and scientific approach, you gallantly impressed those inhabiting this temple. Over a period of time you assumed an iconic and celebratory status. Soon your popularity spread across the land and in all Temples of Knowledge.
But ironically that proved to be your nemesis. With your midas touch, whatever you touched turned into yellow metal and simultaneously your popularity skyrocketed phenomenally. Your febrile mind was unable to balance the three essential Es, that is- equilibrium, equipoise and equanimity. And soon you became haughty and conceited. It was apparent to all but your infelicitous behavior stemmed from your hubris, morphing you from perspicacious monk into an arrogant and abhorrible one. It is sheer providence that all the salutary meditation exercises undertaken over the years provided the much essential lifeboat in which you are sailing today.’
The sire was to add that the enlightened and compassionate Gautama Buddha had said, ‘Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.’ The human mind is perpetually cannonaded by thoughts and negative emotions like attachments, entanglements, lust, obsession, greed, jealousy, anger and arrogance tend to predominate.
Humans need to overcome such antipathetic emotions through relentless sadhana in continuum. However, sadhana/meditation is to be buttressed and fortified by acts of unalloyed seva and sacrifice. The attribute of doer ship- the Antichrist as it were, of the path of spirituality- often ensnares a seeker, a commoner and others on the spiritual path, rearing its ugly head ever so often. Thus, seekers are unable to break the false glass ceilings of anger and arrogance.
Lord Buddha is perhaps one of the greatest students of psychology and the human mind. His faultless aphorisms are extremely pithy and authoritative. He was to say, ‘Be strong, but not rude. Be kind, but not weak. Be humble but not shy and be proud but not arrogant.’ Gloom-ridden and fatalistic words such as No, Not, Neither, Hardly, Scarcely, Rarely, Seldom, Nowhere, Never and Barely resound and resonate from the depths of an angry and arrogant mind.
Life is a stream and continuum of processes. It assumes form in the shape of thoughts which result in beliefs, and these beliefs manifest as feelings and the feelings concretize into actions. The circle gets completed as actions undertaken once again result in thoughts.
This karmic cycle of bondage is in motion incessantly. Positive thoughts shape into efficacious beliefs. Such constructive beliefs develop into propitious feelings and these mushroom into affirmative actions. And worthwhile actions shape into indubitable and inconvertible thoughts. So long as our deeds are bereft of ego and doer ship, the minds of even a hackneyed or middling individual or an enlightened seeker does not get ensnared in the cesspool of ego.
George Harrison, the talismanic vocalist of the famed Beatles group soulfully sang of ‘sneaking around the corner’ to bypass ego. Thus, skillfully seekers and individuals alike have to cross the hurdle of ego or else will fall into the precipice and risk losing all their productivity. It would be sagacious not to launch a frontal attack on ego but, like a consummate virtuoso dexterously take a detour and stockpile one’s mind with positivity, in whichever form.
When the human mind becomes fossilised in thought process, it assumes the monstrous shape of ego. This dullens the mind and makes it dense. The impish and subtle innocence gets lost and a hardened ego takes the shape of avarice and anger. Timorousness and insecurity also provide fodder to the canon of anger.
A sinewy and a strapping mind eschews these negative emotions and provide a shield to overcome anger. Veritable and unfeigned humility in an individual or a seeker provides the buckler to address the misadventures which may arise on account of anger. Shallow and rapid breathing patterns are indicative of simmering anger in a seeker or an individual. Deep breathing and sound sleep are testimony, rather the litmus test that a person has at least combatted, if not vanquished this negative attribute.