I was listening to one of my favorite Jain monks last night and learned something that really resonated with me so I thought I’d share it here.
He said, “it’s the mind that makes us unhappy.” How right he is.
Our mind is the biggest culprit when it comes to snatching our happiness. Every time we try to move forward with a new venture, our mind reminds us of past failures. Every time we think about forgiving someone, our mind reminds us of their past deeds. And every time we decide to leave stress behind and live a bit more carefree, it’s the darn mind that reminds us of our resposibilities.
He went on to explain how our minds can be utilized, disused, misused, or put to good use.
Let me explain the difference between the three…
- Say we need to go someplace. We use our mind to make the plan for when & how to get there.
That’s utilizing the mind.
- When we fall asleep, our mind also rests. At that time, there is no use for the mind.
That’s disusing the mind.
- When we allow bad and wrong thoughts to run rampant in our minds.
That’s misusing the mind.
- When we think positive and happy thoughts.
That’s putting it to good use or powering-up the mind.
The “utilize” and “disuse” concepts are easy to understand. But what’s misuse & good-use?
And he explained it as follows…….
More often than not, what do we do with our minds?
- We constantly engage in bad (or worse) thoughts
- We think about the future or the unknown and WORRY
- We think of the past and FRET or feel REGRET
- We ruminate over people and things and circumstances and wonder if we could have done something different
We choose to wear the best clothes, drive the best cars, and eat the best food.
When grocery-shopping, we pick out the best vegetables, leaving behind any that don’t look fresh or are rotted. When choosing things to do, we find the ones that give us the most pleasure.
But when it comes to our mind, we’ve invested in its misuse. We focus on the mistakes and painful memories of the past.
You either control your mind or it controls you.
~ Napolean Hill
And just to be clear, no one makes us do this. Nor is it a “weakness” of the mind. So why do we do it?
We human beings are slaves to our habits. Thinking wrong or bad thoughts doesn’t offer any temporary or permanent happiness nor does it offer any satisfaction. But we do it because it’s a habit to dwell on mistakes and lost opportunities. And the pain this causes us is something we live with, rather than put the past behind us.
The good news is, we alone have the power to power-up our brains and put them to good use to gain the power to dissolve a galaxy full of problems.
Training the mind isn’t easy but practice does make perfect and some simple ways to train the mind include:
Spending time alone or in meditation
Giving gratitude for all we have
Getting in conversation with God
[or the Universe or whatever higher power you believe in]
Being mindful – focusing on the now (not yesterday and not tomorrow)
Enjoying the little things in life
By making a conscious effort we CAN stop misusing our brains. So let’s do this already….train the mind. Stop the pain.
Just be Happy!