Sunday, September 04, 2005

Learning to be Sane

Learning to be Sane

When we focus our mind and concentrate on a particular task, we are actually aligning all the mental energy that we possess in one direction. People who are always successful in what they do know how important concentration is. When you concentrate, the mind becomes spontaneously creative. Ideas and possibilities come flooding in.

The problem is that many people have lost the ability to concentrate. Concentration is but the starting point for meditation. But let's not even talk about meditation yet. If people know how to concentrate well, they will improve their performance many fold in any task that they pursue.

We have lost the ability to concentrate because we have become so easily distracted by the immediate gratification of the senses. A lot of the input we absorb through our senses are the equivalent of junk food. Junk food does not have any nutritional value but serves only to gratify our tastes buds. And because of this instant gratification that we get from such input, over time we become addicted to them, and forget that it is not normal behaviour.

Two good examples are watching TV and surfing the Net. The TV and the Internet can be two very good sources of knowledge, if we only know how to use them wisely. Unfortunately most of the time, we switch on the TV or surf the Net with no apparent purpose but to satisfy our need for escapism.

It's quite alright if we we indulge in such activities moderately as a form of relaxation--letting the mind wander aimlessly on its own, like a leisurely stroll in the park. But the sad thing is that, after a while, we begin to believe that that's the only way the mind functions--completely out of our control. We allow our mental muscles to be weakened, setting the monkey mind loose in the process.

We should not let that happen. We must always remember to reassert control of our minds. If not, it is desire and ego that will rule our lives. Eckhart Tolle calls this kind of ego-driven consciousness a form of "insanity".

We are all insane to a certain degree. It's not too late to check the slide. Simply start by determining the next thought that comes into your mind, consciously. Do that, and learn to be sane again.

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