Maya is the power that gives strength to the mind and the intelligence to rebel against our own interests. We seek happiness and success and yet many fail, and remain ever dissatisfied. Why? Because Maya, like Clive, is confident and has the last laugh. She has our key men – the mind and the intelligence – the Mir Jafars – on her side. She is determined to keep us entangled in material activities while our souls hanker to live by virtue and principles. The war is real as daily temptations and distractions threaten to pull us away from our goals and the discipline needed to achieve it.
Maya’s agents – the mind and the intelligence – often go unnoticed. They usually appear as friends but diligently plant bombs of doubts and dissensions from within. If we are not assidious to see the evil ploy of the enemy, we’ll be thrown away from our path. If caught and exposed, the spies become ineffective, i.e, if we are mindful in our daily activities, we’ll catch the enemies within. If we are not attentive, like the Nawab we’ll imagine the Mir Jafar like mind to be our friend. And soon, we’ll be vanquished.
Therefore if we truly want to release ourselves from the clutches of the mind, it’s absolutely critical that we spend time with ourselves and improve our self-awareness by asking probing questions to the self. The first century Roman philosopher Seneca appealed to humans, “We should every night call ourselves to an account; what infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.”
A good way to apprehend the enemy is by cultivating these three practises.
Key 1: Attention- Recognize what matters to you
Attention improves our awareness, helps us see our mind from an aerial view, and understand how we are being cheated.
Write down who or what really matters to you. Is it the principle of sacrifice or humility or gratitude? Or maybe integrity or truthfulness represents you? Surely your inner voice-the conscience- speaks to you, at least sometimes, about your role in this world. Your contributions are not only unique, they are precious. You are indeed special, and you can leave behind a legacy. Others may not love you, but you have little control over them. Ask what you love to do and what do you really want to offer or achieve? When you become aware of who you really are, and what really matters to you, you’ve taken the first big leap forward. If you have done this exercise already, congratulations! You are now connected to yourself. If no, take out some time and ask these questions, “What do I really want in life?” or “Who am I”?
To be continued..