This story is slightly bitter for those people who believe in this that we should keep our minds under control. We might have heard, people saying this, advising this, keep your mind under control. It’s bigger, but it’s better, just like green tea.
Going to Vipassana meditation center in case if you have not heard about your Vipassana. It’s a meditation technique that Gautam Buddha used to teach 2500 years ago. And this is the same technique we can learn at the Vipassana center. And they have more than 300 centers in more than 94 countries now.
And you should know this, that Myanmar was the only country the earlier traditional name was Burma. So Myanmar was the only country that decided to preserve this technique for years, the same which Gautam Buddha is to teach in few families.
The Secret Technique
And after many years, this technique, again, came back to India. And now, lots of people are spending huge amounts of time energy money resources in disseminating this technique of meditation throughout the world. So meditation is a buzzword, so I thought even I should go and learn. So I decided to go for meditation, where my whole logic or my belief that I should keep my mind under control was challenged.
So day one, in that meditation hall, we all were sitting down, it was a group meditation, with around 40 to 50 people sitting next to each other. We were asked to close our eyes, and audio started, it was a meditation guided by audio. And the instruction was very clear in the audio, that close your eyes and focus on your breath. So I close my eyes, I started focusing on my breath.
Now, I did that for almost 45 minutes, because we were not allowed to open our eyes. And there is no other agenda there. No one there to disturb you. So I kept my eyes closed for 45 minutes. And number one realization never happened in my life before. For the first time in my life, I realized, that something like this, I’m doing for the first time in my life. I close my eyes, and I was sitting for 45 minutes, not doing anything, just sitting.
But I was overwhelmed with this feeling only. But in the process, I forgot to focus on my breath only because I was not clear what to do. What do you mean, but focus on your breath? Fortunately, even though we had to start our day, early in the morning, 4:30 am. And then we have to end the day at 9:30 pm throughout the day, we have to do meditations only in various sessions.
But fortunately, during rest time, we were allowed to go and meet some senior teachers at the Vibhasna center in case if you have any doubts, any questions. So after 45 minutes, and the first break only I went to one teacher and asked him that I have two questions for you. The first question, whenever I’m trying to focus on my breath, there’s a conflict between my mind and my heart. I want to give him 100% and since childhood has been told to me that if we want to give you 100% work from your heart. Now I have seen my mother saying this, my dad saying this. You’re not getting good scores in studies because you’re not studying from your heart.
So I said I’m confused. Sometimes my mind is focused on the breath. Sometimes my heart is focused on breath and he was listening to me understanding the question.
Focus On Your Breath
And then he said, your heart has a function of pumping blood. Keep that organ aside in meditation, your heart is no fault. You have to focus only on the brain. So whatever according to you, you have divided your physiology or you have according to that’s your truth that there is heart, there is the brain. So keep your heart aside and just focus your brain use your mind to focus on your breath. So the first question clear.
I said I have one more question. When you say focus on your breath, I saw a few people that breathing fast, this is this breath? So I’ve seen several types of breathing exercises. So which one I should follow? What do you mean by breath? And then it was listening to me. It took a pause. After a few seconds, he said, what you’re doing right now is breathing. No, I’m talking to you what you’re doing right now is breathing.
So focus on that breath, which is very subtle. Other things are breathing exercises. Those are good. But in meditation, he said, you have to focus on your breath. I was wondering, what I’m doing is that am I going to do this for next 10 days focusing my mind on my breath? Is this something which I have to learn? And I thought, if this is a mental exercise, from my busy life, I have decided to come for 10 days, why not? Why not to work on your mind for 10 days, when was the last time you did that Praveen, I was really excited about it. Let’s do it.
For the first time, I started observing, that where my mind is actually focusing in real life. So on day one only, when I went to a restaurant, there was a small cafeteria that where they were providing food, very clean, vegetarian food. And it was early in the morning, so we were enjoying our breakfast, I was standing in the queue. And that day, it was Idli.
And there was a person standing in front of me, he had one empty plate in his hand waiting for his number. And then from the big bowl, he took the first two idlis in that plate. So I was just slightly inclined, I thought he will move now but he took two more, two more, two more. And his plate was full of idli.
Now you should know that at Vipassana center, they run everything on donation. So for a moment, I thought, What’s wrong with this person? Can’t he see that it’s all free? Just because it’s free. That doesn’t mean that you should eat like this. Can’t he see that so many people are waiting in the queue? What if there is no food today what others will eat.
So I got angry. But in Vipassana, you cannot speak you are not allowed to open your mouth. I cannot say anything. But from inside, I was very angry, agitated. And this person took that plate started eating. And even though I took my plate sitting very next to him, he was not even aware of my presence. But I was irritated because of him.
And I thought, wait a minute, my mind should focus on my food. Why my mind is focused on that person. So I went to Acharya again. And I explained the same thing. This happened to me today. He looked towards me and he said, you can’t control your mind, why you want to control others’ minds?
Do you have any idea about that person? Maybe for the first time in his life, he has seen idlis he has no idea how many to take. He might be trading that like rice. Maybe he’s from the interior of Maharashtra. And he has heard about idli and his dream to eat idlis. Maybe he’s from South India, where he eats 20 idlis per day, he is eating only 10. You have no idea. You can’t control your mind you’re trying to control others’ minds. Focus, focus on your idli, focus on your breath.
Mind Is A Trainable Organ
I said wait a minute. Yeah, I have to learn my mind is not under my control. I have to focus. So day one full day, I was just focusing. Focus on your breath. Coming, going, coming, going. And then they said to wait a minute. Can you feel your breath touching nostrils or the upper part of the nose? Can you feel that sometimes? It’s coming only from right only from left. I said yeah, it’s happening. Towards the end of the day, for few seconds I could feel that.
Even second day we only practice that almost for two and a half days. In those 10 days, We were doing that only focus on your breath. Why? Because Ladies and gentlemen, focusing on one thing is a skill you expecting focusing on anything without learning and practicing that skill is an unfair expectation.
Understand one very simple thing the way you cannot control your heart, control your liver, control your kidney, you cannot control your mind you have to train your mind not control your mind. It’s a trainable organ. And the most important training you have to give to your mind is how to focus. Why? Because in life, if you really want to grow in your life exponentially, you have to choose where to focus. You can choose where to focus, but you have to train your mind on how to focus. This exactly, we learn in meditation.
Trained Or Untrained Mind
So those people who just loosely say this, keep your mind under control. You cannot keep any organ under control. You have to train your mind.
So make sure in case if you really want to grow in your life, want to focus on things. Be a student of meditation, learn how to focus practice, how to focus on things that might be slightly better for those people who believe that yes, Praveen, we can control our mind or we can divert our mind. But that’s not possible. You can just train your mind. So either you have a trained mind or an untrained mind.
This is Praveen Wadalkar signing out until we meet again.