“It’s all a state of the mind.” You may have come across or heard this phrase being mentioned countless times in times of hardship or during your coffee sessions with friends and family.
It does sound easier said than done – yes, hardships are temporary and how we overcome them depends on how well we accept the reality of living and come up with solutions to them.
But it can be tricky to juggle between resolving your life difficulties yet maintaining a good state of mind the entire time.
We aim to explore further on the state of the mind, the factors influencing it, along with what you can do to ensure the condition of your mind remains well and healthy enough to tackle it all when life throws you lemons.
What Does It Mean By The State of Mind?
Our mind and the five senses make up our six consciousness (六根). The six consciousness is like the CPU of our computer. Unlike the CPU of our computer in which we can insert and choose to program it the way we want, our six consciousness is only relying on our ability to filter what is good and throw away all the bad information that is non-beneficial to our spirituality as well as our physical development.
Hence when we are young and innocent, we are unlikely to distinguish the good over the bad unless we have been given good informal education at home as well as good absorption of strict discipline in school.
Otherwise, we will simply take in all kinds of unwanted and unbeneficial information. This will then corrupt our mind and body.
What Influences Our State of Mind?
Unfortunately, our mind is extremely susceptible to bad influences especially when one is brought up in a soft landing condition as a pampered child. This will give way to temptations of committing truancy, loitering at malls and mixing with triads or gangsters.
Sadly, all these irresponsible people are the result of having wrong exposures and the lack of communication with their parents. Usually, all these misguided people have low self-confidence, no self-reliance and no self-development in their character.
This is why good, solid informal education since young at home is important to ensure that one is imbibed with good manners, respect for others and obedient to law and order. This way will lead one to become a disciplined individual with good moral upbringing. All these good conditions of upbringing will mold our mind to do natural things and actions of moral values.
Sadly, ever since coming into the millennium years which is also known as the White Stage, everything becomes topsy turvy with many people chasing after the shadows of wealth and fame. Where technological advancement is running at a very rapid pace, so do our activities and electronic gadgets become too sophisticated to the point of yielding our life to become more complicated than ever.
Gradually, our mind becomes too obsessed with all these external factors and surrounding development that we are controlled by external conditions. This leads us in the wrong direction of a good conducive way of living.
When we are too obsessed with all these materialistic advancements, many families will be uprooted in search of fame and wealth. Social woes set in, and vices and evil schemes become a norm of the day to enrich oneself out of personal gains and selfishness.
Our Five Sensual Desires
It is our five senses of reception which influence our mind to arouse our Greed, Hatred and Ignorance, as well as create good exposures and profound experiences to instill greater awareness of the true reality of living.
Similarly, vast experiences and immense sufferings will also open up our mind to attain greater wisdom. Hence, it is important to train our mind to acquire greater discipline, calmness and tranquillity in order to reach our state of mind towards equanimity.
With this ripening stage of equanimity, our mind can then be constantly aware of the importance of balancing good over evil in our actions.
Hindrances towards Maintaining A Good State of Mind
The greatest hindrance in training our mind to control ourselves from being too indulgent in worldly pleasures and materialistic attachments is our social tendency to be impatient in everything we do and expect everything to be fast and rapid in result.
This kind of immature character will lead one to become intolerant and inconsiderate as well as lack endurance in overcoming all kinds of obstacles and adversaries.
When the storage of this good and vital information is absent, this paves way for all kinds of unscrupulous tendencies of cheating, lying, sexual misconduct, gambling and manipulation of funds to set in. Our mind has become corrupted and polluted with all the attachments of the three evil roots of mankind.
How to Maintain A Good State of Mind
With all the factors that can easily influence our mind and the potential hindrances, how can we maintain a good state of mind?
We need to rectify our mind with a good mental culture of understanding the Four Noble Truth and the Noble Eightfold Path of attaining liberation over the cycle of Samsara, which is the ceasing of our endless rebirth. We should impound this doctrine with greater pondering, contemplation and lastly constant reflection of our right thought and view in life.
Additionally, we should ensure all our daily activities are inclined towards a good nature of living such as constant daily chanting of sutras and mantras, listening to the Dhamma sermons, taking some vegetarian meals in our diet, including frequent contemplations and meditations of good thoughts and virtues.
Gradually, with these good reflections and positive actions, our mind will gear towards a better realization of truth beyond the reality of living. Only then our mind will gain liberation and attain enlightenment.
All these feel-good factors can only come to reality if we can start from young over our habit of disciplining ourselves, holding true to the slogan that “there is always a time for everything we do, and everything we do must have a limit”. This applies to inculcating our good eating habits, having enough sleep and good rest, practicing moderation and simple living, as well as being humble in outlook.
These are all important traits for establishing a good state of mind. Remember, a mind is only sound and vibrant when we have mastered the equation of mind over matter, instead of the mind being controlled by pleasurable worldly leisures and earthly gadgets.
The best recourse to achieve a good state of sound mind and equanimity is to ensure we do some daily reflections of thoughts, pondering and contemplation after our incantation of sutras and mantras.
This will definitely help to ease our mind and rejuvenate our mental energy over our daily stress of work and other physical activities. We need to recharge our brain with a peaceful and calm contemplation of good serene thoughts. Doing so will then replenish the draining of our mind’s energy after a hard day’s work.
Ultimately, we need to always maintain a good state of mind if we ever want to stay healthy and vibrant in our living.