Simultaneous with the removal of mental problems, the mind must be made stronger and less vulnerable to outside impressions and crises. It must be strengthened so that adverse, outside events no longer disturb its functioning. Of course, as the mind becomes progressively emptied of its problems, then automatically it will become more resistant to external influences. However, there is another excellent method of bringing this about called detachment. It does not mean that one becomes like a vegetable and avoids the ups and downs of life or refrains from interpersonal relationships. No, not at all. It means that though one reacts and acts out external roles, activities and feelings of life, love, hate, anger, etc., they should be seen as something outside oneself. These external activities should not be allowed to affect you in a deeper sense. You must be aware of them as though you are a witness.
In life you must be like a rubber ball, and not like a glass ball. Most people are like a fragile glass ball; they crack, shatter or go to pieces every time they are bounced by a difficult life situation. Become like a rubber ball: resilient, so that everything that happens to you has no deeper influence. Though you will face difficult situations and crises, they should not affect you or upset your inner self, but only in a superficial sense. If you throw a rubber ball on the ground it will rebound without any detrimental change on its inner composition. You must be like this rubber ball, resilient, yet strong, flexible in all situations, and yet without allowing the play of life to touch the inner core of your being. This may be easier said than done, but the method of watching life situations as though they are something different to yourself is a great aid. It is only a technique to gain inner stability, nothing more.
You must try to disidentify yourself as much as possible with your body, emotions and mind. Be aware of everything that happens. Act like a witness, only without identifying yourself with anything. Overidentification with the body, emotions and mind will lead to painful and undesirable physical, emotional and mental experiences. You must try to watch all activities from the centre of consciousness. In this way sorrowful events of life and any other events will not leave a mark on your being. They will occur as though they are something different and apart from your being. The ripples and waves will disturb the surface of the lake, but leave the depths still, calm and undisturbed. Though it is difficult, one must aim to be aware, as an observer under all circumstances, including even the most tumultuous, agitated or disturbing conditions. It can be done quite easily during asanas, pranayama, etc. but during everyday activities effort and practice are required.
As we have already pointed out much unhap-piness in life is the result of overidentification with the body, emotions and the mind. The same applies to overidentification with your work, or your role in life. A process of disidentification is necessary, as a method of obtaining tranquillity in life.
It is a strange thing that if people are asked what they are, they will usually reply "I am an engineer" or "I am a doctor" or "I am a secretary" or perhaps "I am a housewife." They will answer according to what they identify with in life, what their role, work or preoccupation is in life. Some may answer that they are a combination of things - perhaps a mother, a wife and a secretary during the daytime. Yet these things are not what they really are, but only a statement of what they do.
Let us take an example to show how this identification can lead to unhappiness and mental disturbances. Consider an actor. He totally identifies himself with his role as an actor: a fine physique, features, an engaging personality and a manly and melodious voice. He takes great care to keep himself in good condition, in keeping with his role. He may even practise exercises as a means of staying in good shape. Yet, inevitably, nature takes its course and as the years pass he will notice clearly that his youthfulness is disappearing. He painfully realizes that he is losing his distinctive actor's features. His physical condition declines, his face loses its freshness, his voice will lose its depth. He will probably look at himself in the mirror every day, perhaps for hours on end, becoming despondent and may even take futile steps to check or counteract the decline by taking a facelift etc. He will become depressed, for his conception of himself is fast disappearing in front of his very eves. He may even think of suicide or have an emotional breakdown. His overidentification with his youthful, handsome physical appearance is rebounding causing him deep unhappiness and despair.
This is an extreme example. In fact, this is the reason that we chose it as an illustration. But the reader must agree that there is a lot of truth in what has been said, if one considers the number of actors and actresses that have in fact committed suicide. Yet this over-
identification applies in almost every person's life. Consider a mother. She identifies with her role; she sees herself only as a mother, nothing else. Yet eventually her children will probably leave home as young birds will leave the nest. If she has totally identified with her role of mother, then she will suffer much unhappiness. It is the same with all roles that one assumes in life; if one overidentifies with them, then they will definitely cause anguish and emotional upset when the role finishes or changes.
Identification with the body, emotions and the mind is so common that one rarely or never questions its validity. One says, "I am thirsty" when what one really means is "the body is thirsty". The 'I' is overidentified with the body. One says "I am angry" or "I am depressed," when it is really the emotional system that feels these things. One says "I think that two plus two equals four," but actually it is the rational sphere ofthe mind that thinks. And so on. Although these identifications are involved with limitations of language, it is still obvious that we clearly overidentify with functions of ourselves, and not the real 'I'. We are not asking you to change your way of speaking, only that you realize that you are continually creating false identifications. Though you are forced by the construction of our language to continually state these identifications, in a deeper sense don't associate yourself with them.
It is possible to distinctly watch the activities of the body, emotions and mind as a spectator. If you have never experienced this then you have missed something that is very revealing. There is something more permanent that is observing. The body, emotions and the mind are merely instruments of something deeper, and they are certainly not the real T. It is that which witnesses that is the 'I'. It is this that one should identify with. If you can do this then your body and mind will function more efficiently, unhampered by prejudices, fears, etc. You will attain wonderful physical and mental health.
Therefore, if you want to gain more relaxation and flow with the current of life, without being in a continual state of strife with the impressions of the environment, then you must realize that your roles in life are only actions. Nothing more. They are not you. You must continue to do them, but look at them realistically. Consider yourself as an actor performing the roles. Your deeper self or nature will be the audience, while the body and mind will carry out the roles.
Next, you must try to disidentify with your body, emotions and personal mind. You should be aware of them. This is not easy and at first will only be intellectual, but with practice you will find that you identify with them less and less. This is not surprising for the witness is consciousness. You are not creating anything, merely allowing that which is already there to reassert itself in your being.
sive movement towards harmony, both in the internal and external worlds. Internal problems must be progressively erased from the subconscious mind. Any higher experiences will hasten this process until one wipes the accumulated 'dust' of past conditioning and impediments from the mind. Then you will know what Christ meant when he talked about: 'the peace that passeth understanding'.
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A lot of us run through the day with so many responsibilities that we don't have even an instant to treat ourselves. Coping with deadlines at work, attending to the kids, replying to that demanding client we respond and react to the needs of other people. It's time to do a few merciful things to reward yourself and get your health in order.