“I’d rather prefer to accept myself the way I am and then focus on cultivating principles and being more attentive and present in my activities” I said softly and slowly, trying to comfort them. “If you are aware and also attentive, and accept yourself the way you are life is much more peaceful.”
Their expressions changed again; they were now interested.
“Just like Sruti is talking to us, but she is attentive to Chinu”, I pointed to her four-year old daughter, and other kids who frolicked in the garden outside.
“Sruti’s discussing with us, but she’s made her own mental boundary for Chinu to play. She’s accepted the fact that her child needs her complete attention. If the kid slips out of her limit, she would forget our discussion, and rush to Chinu.”
“Is that right?” I now sought Sruti’s endorsement.
She instantly smiled; the sceptic within her was pacified.
Another young man added, “We know we need to be more aware, and also attentive. There are so many seminars on mindfulness, yet why do we find it difficult to follow all that we learn?”
I answered, “We need the third A in place- Aspiration that complements our Awareness and Acceptance of ourselves.
“Let’s briefly acquaint ourselves with each of them. If you are angry at someone, the feeling drags you to say or do something that you may later regret. If however you realize in the midst of the heated emotion, that you are losing control of yourself, you have instantly risen above your mind. You are now aware. A timely awareness of one’s inner situation helps one handle turbulent conditions, and also improves our attention. If you have sufficiently practised being attentive, then the chances are you’d discover early that your mind is slipping away from your control.
“When we have an improved awareness, we also need the second principle of Acceptance to help us deal with ourselves. The negative self-talk, provoked by the ever dissatisfied mind, can be countered with self-acceptance and accepting principles as our guiding light. And if our aspirations- the third principle- are noble, it’s likely we’d sail through an emotionally provoking situation safely.”
“Easier said than done?” Sruti’s cynic again got the better of her.
“Not really!” I said reassuringly.
“‘Practise maketh a man-and a woman-perfect!’ is an old adage. A few easy-to-do techniques that you could practise anywhere would surely help you improve your alertness to the mind’s wanderings.”
We spoke for some time, and resolved to discover our true aspirations, and to increase and improve our self-awareness, and attention practises, besides learning to accept ourselves the way we are.
Next week Sruti and Jaimit said they liked the techniques we discussed; Sruti looked happier and hopeful. The sparkle in their eyes convinced me he had benefitted from these practises.
When hassled by my mind, I remember my spiritual master’s golden words, “Spiritual life is simple for the simple, complicated for the complicated.” The mind too is a simple phenomenon, and even if psychologists and neuroscientists disagree, I understand that if we are present in our simple activities of eating, exercise, study, prayer and work we’d feel peaceful and worthy.