Aeons ago in ancient China lived an old farmer who had worked on his land for many years. He was blessed with a perspicacious mind. Abruptly, one day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, a motley group of neighbours came to commiserate with him. “Such misfortune, such ill luck,” the agitated group of villagers reacted. “Maybe,” nonchalantly replied the farmer. A few days later the horse returned, accompanied by three wild horses. Another group of villagers made a beeline to the house of agriculturist to sympathise. “Maybe,” was the taciturn reply of the aged farmer.
The following day, the farmer’s son tried to mount one of the untamed horses and was thrown off. Consequently, the strapping youngster broke his leg. The overwrought neighbours once again queued up to offer their sympathies at this misadventure. “Maybe,” was the desultory answer yet again.
A few days later some military personnel swooped on the village to draft young men. Looking at the incapacitated stripling he was disqualified from being recruited. The exuberant neighbours congratulated the old grazier on the unexpected turn of events. “Maybe,” was the laconic reply once again.
Import of the story
What could be the gravity and consequences of this unconventional Zen story? The remarkable ability of the aged farmer to remain unruffled, whatever the unwelcome turn or misadventure one may encounter in life. Second, to remain in the present moment and possess the uncanny ability to accept people and situations as they are. This transmutes and metamorphoses the mind to remain pacific in every situation and maintain equanimity.
Aphorism of the Art of Living
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Spiritual Master has succinctly elucidated the significance of the aphorism, ‘to accept people and situations as they are’ in his teachings. Any individual who undertakes the Happiness Programme of the Art of Living is imparted this knowledge. This sutra engineer a radical change in the personality.
The 4 Ds of Abnormal Behaviour
Abnormal behaviour can be construed as a behaviour which is disturbing (socially unacceptable), distressing, maladaptive (or self-defeating), and often the result of distorted thoughts (cognitions), as per Wikipedia.
There are four strains in this abnormal behaviour. These are deviance, dysfunction, distress and danger. Deviant behaviour is usually different, extreme, and unusual and could even include bizarre behavioural patterns.
The second in the series is distressing behaviour. People who are related to such individuals feel unpleasant and unsettled in their presence. Dysfunctional behaviour discommodes the patient to such an extent that it acts as a deterrent in his day to day functioning and behaviour and interferes in his range of activities. The individual is no longer constructive to himself or to society at large. They are individuals who are plainly dangerous or even lethal in their behavioural approach. This impacts their lives and the lives of those with whom they get intertwined in some manner.
Anxiety disorders and their symptoms
There are five specific patterns of anxiety disorders which fall into this category. The first is termed as General Anxiety Disorder. This is a prolonged, vague, quite inexplicable fear having no objective basis, accompanied by hypervigilance and attached motor tension of the brain. Next is what in quotidian parlance is called Panic Disorder. These are none other than perpetual and frequent anxiety disorders and attacks which are accompanied with psychological symptoms such as breathlessness, palpitations, a trembling feeling, dizziness and even a sense of total loss of control over the self. The individual suffering from such a pestilence could even harbour morbid thoughts.
Next in the line of mental disorders are phobias. Humans have irrational phobias such as Acrophobia (fear of heights), Glossophobia (fear of addressing an audience), Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), Aviophobia (fear of flying). There is yet another phobia which impacts the human mind. This is called OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In such a situation a human being is preoccupied with a wide range of thoughts, which are normally viewed by sane people as absolutely irrational. Such persons are habituated to inspecting and checking on things in their immediate surroundings, at home or outside, washing clothes in order to be absolutely freshly attired or is always found counting things or even money. Last, but no less distressing – on this ill-fated checklist is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These individuals suffer repeated and recurrent nightmares, flashbacks, impaired concentration and emotional numbing which invariably follows traumatic or stressful events.
The way out
Our country and society is plagued by three major issues namely, addictions, women’s issues and psychological disorders. A large mass of denizens approach tantriks, babas, and other quacks hoping for a miraculous cure. In all such mephitic issues, it is essential and mandatory to meet a qualified medical practitioner. The first step to recovery is medication under the expert guidance of a doctor.
Next, after a period of treatment, it would be prudent to contact self-help groups, which sustains and nourishes the treatment. For instance, undergoing the Happiness Course of the Art of Living, where a person is taught the unique rhythmic breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar calls the breathing technique as romance with the breath. Human breath has the remarkable potential to expatriate toxins and fears and paves the roadway to recovery. “No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again,” said Gautama Buddha.