Take it as it is

Life is difficult. Nobody has any objection to this universal truth. From the rich to poor, scholar to naïve, old to young, everyone has the same opinion.

But what makes life difficult? Or what should we possess to make life easy? Is it money, knowledge, relations?

If your answer is any of the aforementioned, ask those who possess it and you will find that they are as unhappy as you. So what really makes life difficult?

The Culprit

I believe our mind is the culprit. The events happening around are interpreted by the mind. The consciousness paints the experiences with emotions and we perceive these tainted experiences as real. Hence our reality is actually a construct of our mind.

This is why people react to the same situations differently. The color tone the mind paints, determines a person’s perception. Darker the tone, harsher our reaction.

An experiment

V.S Ramachandran — a neuroscientist who made path-breaking discoveries in the fields of behavioral neurology and visual psychophysics — furnishes his findings in the book ‘The Tell-tale brain’ about how our thoughts influence our physical reality. He has devised meticulous experiments to demonstrate the phenomenon.

One of his famous experiment is by using a simple matchbox and an ice cube. He first explains to the subjects that he is going to blindfold them and is going to touch their hand with a lighted matchstick. He promises them that he will remove it once they feel the burn.

When the experiment starts, he blindfolds the subject and lights the match making sure the person hears the sound and smells the burning match. Then he says he is going to touch their hand with the matchstick and touches them instead with an ice-cube.

Surprisingly, all subjects experience hot burns in their hand and cannot believe that they were touched with the ice cube until they are shown the video footages.

Through this simple test, he proves the grip of mind in our physical reality.

Mastering the thoughts

Once we have realized that our mind is the problem-child, we have to discipline it. But as Gandhi says in his biography, “…controlling the mind is harder than controlling the wind’.

When we try to tame our thoughts, it becomes rebellious. Hence it is hard to suppress it. Instead, most masters advise to unleash the mind and to keep observing it.

When we sit idle and just observe our mind, we will be able to track the pattern of our thoughts. This will create a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Take it as it is

Once the mind becomes calm we get to deeper insights. Though the problems surrounding us persist, our attitude towards it will change.

Instead of approaching the problems emotionally and making it worse, we will be able to accept the situation. Thus we won’t overreact to anything.

The habit of seeing problems as they are without adding our own color to it can open us to great freedom.   

Thank you for reading. Please post your opinions in the comment box below.

7 comments

  1. “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths…” – opening lines of “The Road Less Travelled” by M.Scott Peck, who echoes your opening thoughts. I enjoyed your post. Best wishes, Michael

    • Hey Michael, ‘Road less travelled’ was an inspiring read for me. Happy that you enjoyed the post. Hope you are well

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