The human mind is an extraordinary tool. On one hand, numerous discoveries like cellphones and space stations stand testimony to its ability for penetrating insight into discovering Nature’s secret laws. On the other there are breathtaking creations in art, dance, music and stupendous achievements in sport that reveal another aspect of the mind. Conventional wisdom dictates that to develop and sharpen any ability requires constant practice over years. While the mind’s ability to create or analyse is amply demonstrated all around us, there is another dimension of the mind, pointed out in India’s ancient wisdom.
While most of us hope to make the next world-changing discovery or create the next Billboard chartbuster, reality is that life keeps us on our toes, constantly pulling us in different directions. One often struggles to keep up with professional, personal commitments, and this results in stress, which begins to take its toll sooner or later, in the form of physical ailments or emotional disturbances or both. Just as a car with a great engine if not driven properly will give below-par performance, our mind-body complex too, though an exquisite piece of machinery, is unable to deliver to its potential due to stress.
Our mind-body system works at its optimum when it is not under stress and yet we pay no attention to learn how to de-stress and relax. Neither at home nor at school are we taught how to deal with negative emotions like anger and jealousy or how to flush out stress from our system. The irony is that the feverishness to do something big robs us of our ability to do it. The key to consciously learning how to relax lies in meditation. The rest that we get in sleep is without awareness but in meditation, the rest is with awareness and that is why meditation is much more powerful than sleep. Meditation unlocks a new dimension of the mind, where for just a few moments, you are disconnected from all the thoughts and tension, that normally occupy it, and your system becomes energized. In this space, all your faculties align themselves and this is where creative ideas originate. When you come back from meditation, you are able to face the same challenges with renewed vigor. Your sharpened judgment and intuition enables you to take swift decisions, while responding sensitively to situations. With regular practice, your creative side begins to emerge as well.
While there are many texts that enunciate different ways to meditate, none is as comprehensive as Vigyan Bhairav, which lists down no less than 112 techniques. The vast diversity of these meditation techniques is because different people have different temperaments and tendencies. Apart from popular ways to meditate like observing your breath, Vigyan Bhairav also lists down ways to leap into the space of meditation through different senses like taste, touch, sight and hearing.
Although life has changed a lot from the time scriptures like Vigyan Bhairav were written – we dress, travel and communicate differently now, what has not changed is that, the quest in life is still for happiness. Whether one meets success or failure, after a point what one longs for is peace and freedom from the complexities of life. It is this eternal quest of man that the knowledge in these scriptures addresses and that is what makes them relevant even after thousands of years.
(Vigyan Bhairva, the Unveiling Infinity event will be held on November 10 and November 11 at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium, Bambolim.)