Science of Living: Lesson-13 by Acharya Mahapragya
Jain Vishva Bharati
Education and the Problem of the Mind
Meditation is one of the means of unravelling the mysteries of the mind and of cleansing the mind. This cleansing, purging, and refining is very important. For proper and adequate management of all our activities both refinement and nourishment are necessary. Meditation is the process of both refinement and nourishment. Hence, it should be a compulsory component of our education. In fact, education can be comprehensive and inclusive only when it also incorporates the spiritual science and training in meditation.
Problems can be solved only when consciousness is kept at the centre and all other things at the periphery. All our thinking should be directed to the determining of the effect an activity or action will have on the consciousness. What may appear momentarily beneficial may have a baneful long-term effect on the consciousness. It is worth reflecting what cumulative impact particular activity will have on the consciousness and what its ultimate consequences will be. Such an attitude of reflection is conducive to the solution of problems, whereas a body-centred attitude inevitably complicates problems. Mere catering to physical needs and even ensuring intellectual and mental development, however important though they may be, is not enough. Here it is worth remembering, that mental development is not the same as competence in solving mental problems. This is not surprising because mental development largely involves sharpness of memory and an ability to think and imagine. This by itself cannot ensure the ability to resolve mental problems. Moreover, it is also true that these problems gain in complexity as the mind develops.
There is nothing in our present-day education that can help people solve this dilemrna -imagination being at once the cause of mental development and mental problems. Inadequacy of the education system in this respect calls for paying greater heed to meditation and spirituality being made compulsory components of the system.
Meditation does not mean merely sitting down with eyes closed, or resting and relaxing for a while.
We will be mistaken to believe that mere preaching can bring about a lasting change in someone's dispositions. But by changing the flow of the secretions or by restoring the balance of the endocrinal secretions, the desired results can be achieved. Bad thoughts, however, change the nature of the inner secretions. Thus, inordinate fear completely upsets the central nervous system and excessive anger puts the glandular mechanism entirely out of order. Brain nerves are also affected as they are vitally connected with thoughts. There is no dearth of advice as to the desirability of giving up evil thoughts and replacing them by sublime ones. But very little has been said about how to bring it about. And not unnaturally so, since the 'how' is more a matter of experience and practice than of words. There is a simple way of changing the flow of the secretions - resorting to long breaths. As breathing slows down, the consciousness gets pitched into the present. Breathing exercise is therefore the best way to achieve the goal.
Having known the secret of living in the present, of keeping consciousness confined to the present, he will automatically master the art of controlling the endocrinal secretions. He will be able to alter them at will. Should he find lust overcoming him, he should at once start taking long breaths. Both the pituitary and the pineal will get oriented to the present and lust will first weaken and then altogether disappear.
Whatever and howsoever strong be the passion or base disposition, it can be successfully and effectively countered through resort to long breaths, body-perception and perception of and concentration on the centre of consciousness, especially the tip of the nose, the centre of the eyebrows and the forehead. The endocrinal secretions will be automatically transformed.
A right turn of the consciousness will change the secretions and that in turn will transform the dispositions. For such a complete transformation we will have to acquire complete understanding of our mental problems, their nature, process, source, the secretion causing them and the way to change it. All this constitutes an interlocking chain, a grid. Once it is mastered, the man given to meditation becomes the maker of his own personality and the arbiter of his own destiny. For this it is necessary to learn the art of physical relaxation, silence, concentration and 'thoughtlessness' (freedom from thoughts). Such a state of 'thoughtlessness' is the highest stage of consciousness.