To bring about mental peace in your life, there must be a three-pronged approach:
First of all, one must try to prevent the occurrence of new problems and disturbances. It is no use whatsoever to empty the mind of existing complexes etc. and still leave it open and susceptible to new adverse impressions. It is necessary to make the mind stronger and more resilient to the ups and downs of life.
Secondly, one must exhaust conscious problems; that is, the problems which you already know and recognize.
Thirdly, one must slowly discover and eradicate the subconscious problems. These are problems that cause you much pain, unhappiness and anguish in life, but which are buried deep in the unexplored realms of the mind. You feel the result of these problems in the form of depression etc. but you don't really know what the cause is. You may attribute the cause to some outside event or person, but the real cause lies deep in your mind. These subconscious problems must be recognized and then thrown out.
These three processes do not occur one after the other, as we have listed, but will take place simultaneously. They will supplement each other. For example, once subconscious problems are recognized (category 3) then they will of course automatically become category 2. Furthermore, as one progressively throws out mental problems, then one's ability to face life situations without being disturbed will automatically be enhanced. In other words, the less mental problems a person has, the more he or she is able to face life with calmness and equanimity. So these three categories are bound together as an integral approach in eliminating and preventing mental disturbances and gaining peace. They should operate simultaneously; we have only separated them for convenience in explanation.
These three categories will be discussed in this topic and later lessons also1. In this topic we will discuss simple yet effective methods of bringing about more harmony and peace into one's life on a conscious level. These methods are in fact rather obvious and a matter of common sense, yet they are rarely applied. It is for this reason that we feel it necessary to discuss them. Removal of subconscious problems is of course the most important task, but resolving them on a conscious plane is also of prime importance. In fact, this is the first step to resolving one's deeper conflicts.
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