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Sunday, April 21, 2013

MINDFULNESS

(A genuine effort at sharing my mindscape)

The intriguing concept of Mindfulness (concentrated application of mind) tends to chime newer semantics in a brain attuned to philosophical leanings. For the ones participating in the laborious exercise of writing, this term holds special signification. For the activity of penning the world view through the prism of your vision is no handiwork of an idle mind. Writing endeavour, requires rigorous discipline, training and taming of the ever restless mind.
Desires, jealousies, flawed ambitions, regrets, self doubts, guilt pricks are all enemies of the mind, which have to be reigned in, through painstakingly cultivating the practice of meditation and reading inspiring literary works. Clarity of thought in pursuance of any purposeful goal in life comes via concentrated focus and strong faith in one’s capacity to persevere. According to American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, faith also entails courage to take risks to uphold one’s convictions.

Interestingly and ironically a typical mind has two faces. One has positive bearings. Being aware, it threatens, nags, pushes and shoves and succeeds in impelling you to take the first step. Thus enabled you overcome the tenacious hold of the procrastinating mind. The other face usually enslaves itself to those deadly mood swings and lame excuses; refuses to be reasonable and opts to suffer. Not for long, though! Eventually indolence gives way to sagacity.

A writer’s mind, however, repeatedly experiences intellectual churning and creative turbulence, finding quietude only through the act of articulation of the strife within. That being his life blood, his ultimate concern. Many articles about the various aspects of the writing skills have flooded the internet, but none helps, unless you apply total devotion and singleness of purpose to the writing craft. Tough isn’t it?
This is what is called MINDFULNESS.

Artists of the written word cultivate exemplary will power to pursue an activity which is pleasurable and soul searching. Every finished product squeezes the essence of your being and leaves you limp, empty but relieved temporarily. When the next surge of inspiration invades your brainwaves you are back to square one. Isn’t it that even the greatest writers are seized with intense tense moments till the completion of their work? The strength of their concentration and passion is enviable.

The present critique owes its inspiration to a discourse which I perused in the journal ‘SPAN’ (January/February 2002) titled: 'The Elusive Art of ‘MINDFULNESS’ by Charles Johnson. Referring to Buddhist philosophy he talks ‘about the relationship between self and work.’ He emphasizes, citing personal experiences that concentration is not only fundamental to practice meditation but also is the basic prerequisite for doing any worldly activity well. Only in a state of single minded absorption, one’s consciousness can conquer the restricting policing of the mind and come up with a palette of newer dimensions regarding any subject of intellectual exploration. According to him all tasks pleasant or otherwise are best achieved if the doer exercises the art of mindfulness- the total attention to every nuance of the job at hand and being so wedded to the task as to thwart any interfering and selfish nudges of the ‘monkey mind.’

Taking this concept in the context of a much larger canvas of our country, we perceive casual, half hearted approach, unforgiving indifference and gross irresponsibility at all levels of our body politic as well as in the social arena. We citizens have become sleeping partners regarding our commitment to community  projects. Why don’t we give our undivided attention to the problems which we can certainly resolve if there is will to do so? We lead our cynical lives without taking any initiatives for larger societal good. We look the other way like a pigeon that closes his eyes when it sees a cat, thinking that the cat won’t eat it and loses his life.

This apart, we pander to hopelessly patient and non –reactive culture even in outrageous situations. Our better sense has gone wool gathering. We believe in fatalistic Karma which bricks us in dormancy and status quo? Aren’t we aware of the increasing criminality in our midst with no solutions in sight? Are there any whole hearted or synergic efforts planned to ameliorate the seething dissatisfaction around us. Our collective aberrations would cost us dearly.

Let's (especially those who are at the helm of affairs of our country) give as little as ten minutes to meditation daily and be conscious of the rise and fall of breath. The insularity of the mind will disappear. It will set our priorities right as performers of public and private duties.

Guru Gobind Singh has said in Adi Granth, “Mann jite, jag jeet.” (If you conquer the mind, you will conquer the world.)
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Friends, let's start a conversation on the topic.

12 comments:

  1. As has always been said, 'It is all in the mind'

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  2. Nicely written. Unfortunately most of the bureaucrats are more interested in their own personal aggrandizement rather than looking at resolving issues for the country. There are ofcourse many honest officers who do good work. However, they are stifled by mediocrity all around them. The ministers have their own priorities and only think of perceived populist issues. If individuals, instead of being cynic, raise their voice either by letters, emails or physical demonstrations, these leaders and bureaucrats are bound to listen.

    People who have access to internet, instead of forwarding jokes everday, should atleast shoot an email to PM, Ministers and bureaucrats on various topics. That will make these people give priority to our issues.

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  3. Thanks Deepak ji.Mindfulness( total attention) can open closed windows of the mind.To do good we'll have to step out of our comfort zones.

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  4. AliasgarM,Thanks for coming.

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  5. Hi Sabyasachi,
    I can't agree with your analysis more.We have waited long enough for our leaders to think of us who elected them.Bureaucrats are equally unresponsive.Hence now is the time for every citizen to take up cudgels to set the system right.
    The movement should be peaceful with clear agenda of action.All right thinking people should come forward to make a difference.

    As voters we should stop being cynical and vote for the right people. Such changes can only happen with concerted efforts of public and people in power.
    Your suggestion of active participation through sending emails etc. to the high ups needs attention. Thanks.

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  6. I perceive mind as everything to what we are. You have written many things of the mind here too.Nice post

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  7. Thanks sreedev!


    Hi Uma, Yes, absolutely.My take on the mind is my own reflections and analysis of what I've read and keep reading about the subject.I feel total concentration and positive thinking are the keys to a creative mind.
    Thanks and keep sharing your thoughts.

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  8. Thanks Samar for coming here and reading the post.

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  9. I am trying to work this year in Mindfulness. My daughter is a psychologist who uses it in her therapy with clients and has encouraged me..I am going back to my yoga and meditation days..but I was in my 30's then.Now I am 58.. Michelle

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