Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Easwaran's Thought for the Day

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm. – Robert Louis Stevenson

When the mind gets agitated, we do not see life as it truly is, as one. It is the constant agitation going on in our mind that deludes us into believing that you and I are separate.

The question we may well ask is, “If we are to have neither pleasure nor pain in life, are we not likely to become insensitive to the joy of life?” This doubt arises from a wrong assumption, that there is only pleasure and pain and nothing else. Always cutting things up into two classes – everything must be either this or that – is one of the fatal weaknesses of the intellect. Because of this dualistic trap, we find it difficult to understand that the rare person who is able to receive good fortune without getting excited, and bad fortune without getting depressed, lives in abiding joy. --Eknath Easwaran

I don't know if it's only an "agitated" mind that is unable to see the "oneness" of life. For all I know, a calm mind could also be blind to this oneness. But the great mystics from many traditions speak of the importance of a calm mind as a prerequisite for the mystical vision of oneness and the joy that accompanies it.

For an ignorant person such as myself, it's hard to understand how joy could stem from calmness when joy is typically seen as a kind of manic elation that is anything but calm. But the great mystics tell us that this is a misunderstanding of the true and subtle nature of real joy, and who am I to argue with them? At a time when much of the world seems to be going to hell and the rest of it is huddled precariously close to the edge of the chasm, I listen to those who speak of calmness and abiding joy in the midst of swirling chaos.


dr.alistair said...

a quiet mind is essential to be able to make reasonable decisions. i notice that when i`m agitated i cannot focus and rationalise as well as when i`m calm. i don`t have the ability to be able to take as objective position when i`m agitated either. i am going through a seperation at the present and now that it`s in the lawyer`s hands i`m much calmer but it took all my discipline to find some calm while the legal position was unclear. i find myself in moments of joy through all this precisely because i stalk the calm center first before i try to make decisions.
i think that once we find our own calm center we find it easier to get back to it when we need to.

gosocmed said...

Nice info. Thanks for this post