As the world is locked down and people are confined to homes exposed to countless mindless forwards and a flood of data, mindfulness can keep your head above water.
An empty mind is the devil’s workshop. These days having fed the mind with mindless gossip, doomsday projections from careless forewords, and unmindful media reports, many are already suffering substantial anxiety and are emotionally distressed.
As Vedic Rishi (sage) Sushruta, who is popularly known as Father of Surgery, mentions in his celebrated work Sushruta Samhita, “If the mind is happy, the body is healthy. If the mind is unhappy, it is a matter of time before the body is overwhelmed with diseases.”
The easiest way to cripple a body is through the mind. Kautilya observes in Artha Sutras, ‘To destroy a nation, destroy the mind of its ruler,’ and, ‘To destroy the mind of its ruler, create unrest in the mind of its people.’ Further adding, ‘To create unrest in the minds of the people,’ he suggests, ‘feed them with misleading and demeaning propaganda.’
Unfortunately, the world is fed such misleading thoughts not just by external players but also by the media, which are mindlessly transmitting news that often triggers a sense of helplessness, chaos, and panic.
The economy will indeed face a recession once the threat of the virus has subsided. It must go without saying that the post ‘China virus’ world will be extremely different. The financial stress, even with large stimulus packages announced by governments and World Bank, will not be enough to boost it.
But does it help to panic?
The only constant in life is change. To survive and thrive, we must learn to embrace change by first understanding, then adapting to it. Neither the understanding nor adapting is possible without a presence of mind. But a mind infested with anxiety and a sense of distress is in no position to handle a crisis of any nature.
We, therefore, need to start working on our minds right away. And while staying away from harmful content and media reportage would help, that will not be enough. We need to discipline our minds to process our thoughts carefully.
During the lockdown, boredom can lead to frustration. And it is easy for pessimism to seep into the mind at this time. Any pessimism can be overcome by mindfulness. We can convert our sense of loneliness to solitude by seeking contemplation instead of complaining mindlessly.
Contemplation is best achieved through meditation. This happens not just in silence but also with thoughts. Any thoughts that lead us towards hopelessness must be disposed of, whereas thoughts that incite hope must be encouraged.
It may help to recollect that hope and hopelessness; are both figments of your imagination. However, if your hold on to hopelessness, you will ruin your present as well as the future. But if you embrace hope – you will have a peaceful present and a promising future.
From the perspective of wisdom, it is not always wise to spend our time in thoughts and dreams. But, when our body is confined to the home, thoughts could be our fabulous companions.
We could use our time in solitude to think, plan, and envision our future. To revisit past ambitions, see what we can achieve and find reasons for not having achieved something in the past and prepare a roadmap for your future.
Living under the fear of death is futile. Birth is bound to lead us to death. Nobody is certain when they are going to die. But to live a life under the fear of death is ludicrous. The best thing about death is that you do not need to prepare for it. But to live another day, it helps to be prepared.
Use this moment to calm your mind first. And with that calm mind, create every possible scenario in your profession or business; then try finding solutions to the challenges you face. Fear, anger, anxiety or frustration has never helped anyone. But people with a calm and composed mind have often sailed through the toughest times.
As Rishi Vashistha says to Rama, “The greatest war is never between the greatest armies but within a lonely and untamed mind.” He also adds, “The person who can win over his mind and train it to remain calm and composed in the most trying situation can manifest great powers and becomes capable of great feats.”