Guiding Light: Mental Hygiene

Guiding Light: Mental Hygiene

Ritesh AswaneyUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 07:07 PM IST
article-image
Representative Image | John Hain/Pixabay

We typically brush our teeth twice a day, once when we start the morning, and then when we’re about to turn in for the day, to cleanse our mouths of all the plaque, before it hardens into tartar. This routine is critical to maintaining dental hygiene. But when the focus shifts to mental hygiene, we aren’t typically able to exercise the same kind of routine, allowing our minds to marinate in a concoction of our own problems, with a potential to eat away at them.

Our minds are probably the sharpest instruments that the universe gifted us with. When we turn the power of awareness to a problem, a combined parade of past experiences along with a critical evaluation of key hurdles follow, and with sustained thinking, almost all problems can be overcome, at least in theory. What differentiates a master craftsman from your run of the mill tailor, is that expertise of knowing how the cloth is cut, coupled with that foresight to see the garment of choice gradually emerge from the fabric of life.

The best craftsmen can sense when said opportunity for applying ourselves has passed, rather than stumbling through life trying to second guess the path to a solution. And once the opportunity for making a cut has passed, it’s time for the humble thread and needle to step in and fuse edges together to create the outline of something that can be worn. The pair of scissors, no matter how sharp and accurate, just cannot realise that second step. Therein lies that subtle learning, as true for a pair of scissors, as our mind, sharp, incisive, but not appropriate in every situation.

The world of work values mental agility and problem solving skills, which means that all through education we focus on sharpening our intellect. But the risk is that we become over-critical, and self-inflict wounds of doubt, when it becomes impossible to tune out that hyperactive mind. Getting attached to the joy of slicing and dicing things ends up resulting in intellectual dissection of situations which are required to be dealt with by the heart, rather than the head, damaging our interpersonal relationships, and losing precious and hard-earned trust.

Too much of a good thing also ends up becoming unhealthy, giving us the all-important life lesson of dealing with ourselves with as much kindness as we do with others. Spiritual disciplines such as yoga and meditation, when regularly practised, can help one discern their mind, which in some ways is just a stream of ephemeral thought-consciousness masquerading as the eternal self, but is quite frankly nothing like it. Changeless, ageless, eternal, it remains within, untainted by the ink of experiences, which can easily tinge the mind.

RECENT STORIES

Guiding Light: Rama Rajya…?

Guiding Light: Rama Rajya…?

Guiding Light: From Legislation To Enlightenment

Guiding Light: From Legislation To Enlightenment

Guiding Light: Shiva Shaktaikya Roopini

Guiding Light: Shiva Shaktaikya Roopini

PHOTOS: Take Darshan Of Ayodhya's Ram Lalla As His Face Illuminates With 'Surya Tilak' On Ram Navami...

PHOTOS: Take Darshan Of Ayodhya's Ram Lalla As His Face Illuminates With 'Surya Tilak' On Ram Navami...

Guiding Light: Sri Rama Avatara

Guiding Light: Sri Rama Avatara