Mind matters: Five Hindu ways to have positive thinking in life

Thoughts are things. Anything in the world is first created in your mind and then it is manifested physically. So, there cannot be any world...

Thoughts are things. Anything in the world is first created in your mind and then it is manifested physically. So, there cannot be any world of things and thoughts without ideas which manifest in your mind first.

Modern psychology is fast realising the importance of mind on the human body and its overall well-being. How thought impacts and affects the body and its health is the focus of evolving psychology. Western literature is replete with texts where positive thoughts have been impressed upon. Best-selling books such as The Power of Positive Thinking, As A Man Thinketh, Learned Optimism, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, You Can Heal Your Life highlight the significance of human thought and mind.

For Hinduism, what breath is to body, thought is to mind! The Hindu mind is creative, positive and logical. Ancient Hindu seers have dissected the patterns of mind in such a perfect way that it is even difficult for modern psychologists to make any room for further improvements. Hinduism divides thoughts into three categories: a) Satvik, b) Rajasik, c) Tamsik.

Tamsik thoughts are those that give us inertia, negativity and dullness. You will find these kinds of thoughts when you have overeaten or stressed out. Rajasik thoughts give us movement, activity, motion and fast-thinking. Then come Satvik thoughts which are positive, self-evolving and creative thoughts.

Out of these three types, Satvik thoughts are hailed as superior, pious and positive. So, the purpose of controlling thoughts is to direct them towards Satvik thoughts. Interestingly, the ultimate purpose of life is to go beyond thoughts and be in a thoughtless state of mind which is called meditation. So, as per the Hindu mind, the purpose of evolution is involution!

Let us find out five ways in which we can reach to Satvik thoughts, a Hindu way:

Good food leads to positive thoughts: As per Hinduism food plays a very important role in a person’s thought process. Recent scientific studies are fast accepting the impact of food on the human thought process. As per a Hindu saying, Jaisa Annh, Vaisa Mann (your thoughts will correspond to your food). In the famous treatise, Who Am I?, it is suggested that the best way to have positive thoughts is to have Satvik food which is free from oil, spices or heaviness. Nature-based, non-processed and live food is recommended. So, to have positive thoughts, you must check out for your food intake and even its timings.

Focus on Satvik thoughts: We come across many types of situations in life which may be negative, neutral or positive. One of the suggested ways is to locate positive thoughts in every situation. As per Hindu texts, you are the master of the mind. Your mind encounters many thoughts each second. You are the chooser of the ‘thoughts’. You have a choice to make. Even if you do not choose that is also a choice! So, instead of being swayed away by the thoughts, you should choose Satvik thoughts. When you have a negative (Tamsik) thought, immediately replace it with a Satvik (positive) thought.

Be an Observer: Hinduism goes beyond thoughts too. Thoughts are natural like the flow of a river. Instead of attaching yourself with any thought, just be an observer of your thoughts. You should be a Sakshi (witness) to the thoughts going in or out of you. These are like waves which evolve from the mind-sea and ultimately merge in the mind-sea. Observe your thoughts without projecting whether these thoughts are good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, right or wrong. Just be an observer.

Meditate: The best way to give a pause to your thoughts is to meditate. Just sit in a relaxing position and observe your breath. It will help you bring back focus in your life and also help declutter your mind. Your mind is always preoccupied with likes and dislikes. The purpose of meditation is to rise above this dichotomy and focus on positive thoughts to reach the stage of thoughtlessness.

Do one work each day without expectations: It is a natural human tendency to expect when we do something. It attaches us to the work, thing, thought, or even person for whom we have done work. Expectations unfulfilled breed frustration and anger. Start with at least one work in a day without expecting anything in return. That will help you learn non-attachment. This work should be work for the pleasure of work, instead of its results. Even if you do one selfless work, your thought process would be positive.

The writer is an independent columnist. Views expressed are personal.

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Mind matters: Five Hindu ways to have positive thinking in life
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