"The Best Cure for the Body Is a Quiet Mind."

By Rajesh Kathpalia / filmsforaction.org
Jul 20, 2022
"The Best Cure for the Body Is a Quiet Mind."
Will man always be burdened with his own past, his shadow? ( sketch by Marcos Severi )

Coming across this statement, one was struck by its simplicity. The perception of its truth was instantaneous and thunderous.


We think the mind or the brain gives us a true picture of the world, but that is what we believe. The way it exists today, our mind is a storehouse of memories, experiences and knowledge arrived at after comparing, measuring, judging, selecting all this stuff as per still previous knowledge. We experience something and this experience is already moulded by past experience and it goes on and on like this. So, the experiences are ever biased and never new if one leaves aside the technical matters. We may call it learning from past but it may be totally dictated by the past! How can there be something new with an old experience?


All this stuff of mind i.e., experiences, memories etc is made up of thoughts  which are themselves a series of images or reflections. How so ever true the mirror may be, reflection always remains a reflection, just a shadow, a dead thing. It can never substitute the actual, the alive. So, thought by its very nature is not only an artificial imitation of the actual but being based on the past is also forever distorted and old. It’s not the real thing. It can never be the original, it can never be creative in itself though it may express something creative after it has arrived outside of thought. A finger pointing towards the Moon is not the Moon. The thought of food, the idea of food, the word ‘food’ is not the food you can eat!


All our reality is based on the past because the interpretation is from the past long gone  and the present is just a blip which is instantly devoured by the past.  Since our feelings are also affected by our thoughts, there are hardly any primordial feelings left, having mostly turned into ‘felts', feelings we once felt and there is no freshness and liveliness in them. It is apt to say thus that the way we are living now, we are our past! This is so for almost every human being because we sort of share the same mind which has been conditioned through thousands of years of human experiences. Our individual differences of the mind are rather very superficial, not very deep.


Now, this always moving, churning, comparing, always insecure and thus unquiet mind is tagging along our body and subjecting it to the same stresses it itself is going through, not based on an actual threat perception of the body but on what it thinks is a threat which is further determined by its past experiences. The mind can be in stress just because it is not feeling the same thrill today as it was feeling yesterday! It may think that a pain it suffered last month can come back or the job it is in now may be taken away or some relationship may break-up, i.e., just endless chatter! There is no end to its comparing and just a thought can start the whole process of feeling miserable taking the body along with it on a downhill roller-coaster ride of emotional and other stresses.


They say, all diseases modern man faces today have their origin somehow in the mind. The climate change we have caused, the pollution of soil, air and water we have caused and consequently the polluted and artificial food we eat has its origin in our thoughts because thoughts prevent a live relationship of not only man with man but also man with nature! If a river, a tree, a bird is just an image for us, we cease to care for it. Further, the stress-disease connection is all too obvious now and we won’t go into it now!


What can be done in such a situation? Isn't it but natural for the mind to ask how to quieten the mind! Look carefully, what is happening here. The mind is always active with the problems it itself has created and is thus not quiet. A question is asked, how to quieten the mind and in its momentum of looking into the past for everything, the mind becomes busy and further unquiet in finding out the solution! It does come up with solutions from the past, from books, experts and from the centuries’ old traditions, in the form of meditation, of controlling of desires, of isolating oneself, of busying oneself in some larger social work, of becoming a monk so on and so on. But, all of these are again ideas rooted in the past and there may be some temporary respite, yet the past remains entrenched as it is and the mind remains unquiet at its core!


            Can the mind look at itself without the past? Can it look afresh and see through this question and being sensitive now, not look into the past for the solutions? Can the mind be quiet with this question?


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