What is Life? Vedanta explains that life is a series of unbroken experiences. Experiences are the building blocks of life.

As the mind, so the world

The mind is the instrument with which we experience our world. If the mind is not engaged in our experience of the world, there will be no experience. For instance, you may be at a business meeting, hearing the people around you speaking; but if you were thinking about your plans for the weekend, you will not be able to effectively respond to a question that is directed to you. Your mind was occupied elsewhere.

grumpy man holding umbrella in rainThe state of the mind determines whether an experience is positive or not.

If you are feeling happy, you will easily overlook an inconvenience such as finding out that your flight has been delayed by an hour.

On the other hand, if your mind is preoccupied with some pressing concerns, even a small delay or inconvenience will be seen as a a big problem.

So, the quality of your experiences depends on the quality or state of your mind while transacting with a person, thing or situation.

Who is in control of your mind? The answer’s pretty obvious – you, of course. You are the individual functioning through the mind.

Now think about this –

  • Experiences make up your life.
  • You experience the world through the mind.
  • The quality of your experiences depends on the state and quality of your mind.
  • You are in control of your mind.

Therefore, you could potentially train your mind to give you only ‘good’ experiences. This will greatly enhance the quality of your life.

‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ are just labels

Well, you may say that good or bad situations come from the world. But the fact is that a situation is just that – a situation. You decide to label it ‘good’ or bad’ by the way you choose to see it.

There is an often-told story of Thomas Alva Edison, the prolific inventor of the 20th century. In 1914, his laboratory buildings caught fire and most of his life work was destroyed. As the buildings were burning, his son found him staring in amazement at the fire.

When Edison saw his son, he shouted out to him. “Go and find your mother! Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.” The next morning, Edison went back to the charred remains of his buildings and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”

I’ve read this story many times, but it never hit me as as hard as a month ago when a house on my own street burned down. The massive fire coloured the night sky orange, and the flames were tall and fierce. I was overcome with shock and a feeling of sadness and concern for my neighbours (who were thankfully not at home) even as I watched the powerful fire eat up the entire house.

How could Edison stand by and watch his entire life’s work get destroyed with such detachment and equanimity? Obviously, he was a man of great wisdom. He was a master of his mind and had spent many years cultivating peace.

Make peace a priority

How to nurture and rehabilitate the mind? The simple answer is to commit to your own inner growth by making peace of mind your highest priority.

Promise yourself that you will do your best to stay peaceful regardless of what is happening around you while being careful to always nurturing a healthy self-respect and love of a Higher Power.

Mother Teresa’s wise words sum up this idea beautifully.

Mother Teresa image in black and white

The Final Analysis
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
– Mother Teresa

Easy does it

The mind is an extremely delicate instrument. It cannot be forced to change. The way to rehabilitate and lift the mind is to carefully feed it noble and positive ideas and thoughts on a daily basis.

We have to stay alert to it’s moods and firmly but gently lift it up every time it falls into self-doubt, fear, hatred, envy, greed, and a host of other negative emotions.

As a result of this careful nurturing over a long period of time, the mind will be trained to stay positive and calm in all situations. Such a mind will be the best instrument to meet the ups and downs of life.

Read how to stay positive in The best way to meet the challenges of your life.The Best Way to Meet the Challenges of Your Life

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Manisha Melwani

Manisha Melwani is a teacher and the author of, "So You're a Spiritual Being–Now What?" She offers spiritual and wellness solutions for life and stress management. She teaches classes in personal growth, stress management and meditation. She is based in Richmond Hill and Markham, Ontario. Contact her for more information or to have her speak to your group or organization. She also offers private counselling sessions in person or on-line.
Manisha Melwani

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