3) Preach to the mind
One of my teachers, Sachinandan Swami, once shared with me this amazing tool to manage the mind—a five-minute sermon to the mind to cooperate with your plan of action. Close your eyes and instruct to your mind the same way the sixteen-year-old Pi did in Yann Martel’s fantasy novel, Life of Pi. Pi shouts at, loves and controls the Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, who is stranded with him on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. It reminds me that we too have a companion, like the tiger in the story, who could potentially devour us. Learn to control him, for you can’t live without him and you really have no choice. Be careful not to exceed your preaching beyond five minutes or else it wouldn’t be a happy experience; the mind can quickly drag you to lament about the past or worry about the future. Repeated exercise helps us realize that our mind isn’t our best friend, rather it’s an enemy, and we are helpless in quelling the mind to subjugation. Since we can’t do without the help of our active mind, we need to transform this restless enemy to a cooperative friend. If you feel helpless, it’s a good sign. You could now tap prayers—the fourth and most effective tool for mind management.
While praying, instead of talking to the mind, you talk to God. This raises our level of consciousness and helps us see the trivial nature of most issues that bug us day in and day out. Many spiritual paths advocate meditation or mantra chanting as an effective prayer tool. Through these spiritually uplifting exercises, one connects to the spiritual powerhouse called God. Prayer essentially means a sincere thank you for all the gifts we have been blessed with. The energy tapped by prayer helps us deal with our stressors soberly. Regular prayer sessions fill the heart with serenity and peace; a spiritualist then realizes that prayers may not always solve problems, but it certainly brings us closer to God. And as we experience that closeness, most problems appear insignificant and life appears meaningful and worth living, as an offering of sacred service.