When a suspicious person prowls around your house, you are watchful. You keep an alert on his activities. And if that person threatens to move into your house, then you call the police instantly, see to it that he is stopped. When its raining or snowing , you clean up any dirt around your home. You see that water doesn’t leak in. When guests come in, you welcome them, but take care that you do not entertain undesirable guests and are cautious with them. Sometimes you keep them away, if you know they are not ‘good’ for your welfare. You guard your house well, don’t you?
Today I wondered, how often are we as alert, attentive and protective are we when it comes to our own mind which is our very core engine that drives us into action? Generally, we are reactive and are tossed around and swayed by the whims of the mind as it wants based on random external triggers isn’t it?
When we are overwhelmed with fear, anger and such other negativity, how often haven’t we ‘entertained’ it, believed it and let it dwell on, as though it was our most honored well-wisher? We many times perhaps forget to consider such negativity as fear, doubt, anger etc as ‘suspicious’. How often have we even been aware that a negative state of mind has overpowered us and started to wield its power over us?
Have you made conscious efforts to protect your inner home from these potent invaders? Were you alert when they prowled into your field? If it were your guest, did you try to be cautious of it or did you simply embrace it (sometimes even invited it) not seeing through its disguise?
I just had a day today, where I consciously practised this with this metaphor of welcome and unwelcome guests and invading thieves. It proved to be not only useful in improving my self-awareness but also reminded me to wake up and confront my negativity when it arose, by making a clear conscious invocation of a positive state of mind, either by the practice of ‘metta’ ( a practice of emanating vibrations of loving kindness and friendliness ), or by practice of Vipassana ( which gives a subtle awareness of impermanence of the negative states ) or sometimes simply by affirming that ‘I can be more calm and centered or courageous or persistent’.
Often I have been swayed by negative states, wasting away my time and distorting my actions and decisions and causing disturbances in my relationship with my near and dear ones. The damage imposed by powerful negative states of mind is often under-estimated. They fester inside, grow and finally when its too late, they are potent enough to sabotage and even devastate many of our crucial endeavours.
I realized that by a simple daily prayer to constantly remind ourselves to be self-aware, we can more often use the simple techniques we learn and actually ‘guard’ the mind and keep it in a state that is more amenable for our well-being. It helps to catch our negative states of mind more often and makes us more agile at working on transforming it into a positive state.
It is wise indeed to ‘prepare’ ourselves to be alert and guard our minds, by practising techniques as a preventive measure consciously everyday. Meditation practices and positive thinking affirmations are really worth the time, just as much as physical exercises are an investment for our fitness and health.
Self-awareness works…its beneficial. Its like a watchdog who keeps constant vigil to protect our house and welfare. In my experience, it has not been easy to practice it but slow and steady, persistent efforts pay. Practising self-awareness I can vouch for it..is as important and perhaps more so, than hiring a guard to protect our treasured property. :-). Thought I would share this experience here and recommend hiring this special guard for you, my friends… :-), if you have not already done so.