“But our whole survival is because of our mind. We would be nothing without our thinking. Thinking is greatest gift to humans. No other species on earth can think. Whatever mankind has achieved today, the scientific discoveries, the art, culture and literature are all because of the mind. How can we just belittle such great instrument of existence.” I was finding hard to accept his words and I just retorted. “Yes Doctor, brain is indeed an organ of great importance but it’s like any other organ, for example, arm or leg. We should not let it become our master. We are not our minds. We are more than our thoughts but we mistake our thoughts for what we are. We identify ourselves with our thoughts. We should not let our mind become our masters. We suffer because invariable we allow it to become our master.”
“How that happens?” Now my curiosity to understand our mind...our thoughts was increasing progressively. “If you consider my example, I have AIDS and because of that, I am having opportunistic illnesses and HIV related complications going on since my childhood. I was looked after my old grandfather who did his best. We were stigmatized in the society, back in our village. No one wanted to give job to my grandfather because of death of both of my parents was caused by HIV and I am also carrying the virus. Life was very difficult. And when my grandfather couldn’t look after me anymore, he admitted me to an orphanage where I stayed for a while before being shifted to this place. The conditions at previous orphanage were appalling.
We were treated very badly. There was scarcity of food and there were no regular water and electricity. Even sick children were asked to do menial jobs and were regularly abused. It was difficult life and it was blessing in disguise that I have been moved here as I was diagnosed with HIV.” Though he was speaking about his hard times, there was no sign of any pain or distress on his face. It was as if he is telling me story about someone else’s life. “I understand that you had to go through such difficult times where besides your illness, you had to witness the worst kinds of treatment from people who were supposed to take care of you. But what’s the role of mind here? Suffering is suffering...we can’t make it better or worse!” I was looking for answers to my own sufferings and miseries. “Indeed, suffering is suffering. Pain is pain. And pleasure is pleasure.
But here is the role of mind. It’s not the situation itself but how our mind interprets the situation. And unfortunately mind tends to amplify...exaggerate any particular issue. It doesn’t let us stay in the middle, doesn’t let us observe anything objectively. My situation is what is it, but if I let my mind...my thoughts take control, I am sure I would lose my battle even before fighting it. If I have fever, pain or weakness, I just see them for what they are. I don’t believe in stories in my head which at times tell me that I am doomed. That my life is simply a living hell. That, there is no hope with HIV and there is only downhill course. Whatever may be the quantum of suffering but believing in our thoughts about it, we tend to maximize our suffering instead of seeing them for what they are. It would have been difficult for me to survive if I would have believed my thoughts about my condition.”
He poignantly provided me the insight of his unaccommodating life and how he dealt with it. “But why our mind should behave in such manner? It’s like being tortured by part of our own body! ” I exclaimed. “Not exactly! It is how we use it. We have to be the master and keep our mind as our server. Use it when necessary but don’t get used by it. It is an ancient entity. It has travelled through several life times and it has accumulated all our experiences, desires, likes, dislikes, wishes and dreams. It is like dust which keeps accumulating over the mirror of the soul, over several life times and which has now become our conditioning. We have been conditioned to think, the way we thinks. We are forced to behave the way we behave. It’s like the memory of the computer, which prompts the user with the programs it has already been loaded with, the default setting. Our every thought, every action, every spoken or unspoken words become our conditioning, our habit, our character and finally our destiny. According to our Hindu mythology, when body dies, mind simply passes from one lifetime to another. And carries with it...... all the expressed and un-expressed thoughts, feelings and emotions with it. And the journey of the mind continues till we clear all our Karma, till we get Nirvana, Moksha.”
“Do you mean that we can’t get rid of our conditioning in this life-time and we have to go through our Karma again and again?”
“Choice is ours. We can either go through the conditioned pattern of our mind or create further Karma or we can de-condition ourselves in this life time only. We can’t undo what has already been done in the past though we can recondition ourselves with new set of thoughts and feelings so as to neutralize old pattern of our mind. But anything done to recondition would create further Karma and cycle will continue.” Arvind tried to answer my query in best way possible but I was feeling intrigued by the complexities of our body and mind.
Arvind asked for water. I could see that he was feeling uncomfortable after so much of talking but amazingly, his face still looked fresh. I couldn’t let go of my inquisitiveness and I inquired if we can continue our discussion. He smiled and said humbly, “I would be happy if I am able to make any difference to your life.” He then suddenly looked at me and asked, “Doctor, why you are interested in knowing about body, mind and soul. You are a doctor and you have been taught about the structure and function of various organs as well as the disease and cure related to these?”
~To be continued
~To be continued