The Bhagavad Gita describes the tendency of the mind as follows: “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”
By referring to the mind as a friend or an enemy, the Gita treats the mind as if it were something different from us. Many times it can sure feel as if someone else, or even a whole group of people, is carrying on elaborate dialogues up there that have little to do with our present reality.
Many Hindu texts create a distinction between the physical body, the mind and intelligence. The mind is often compared to an impulsive child who isn’t capable of making proper decisions, and the intelligence is likened to a parent that helps the mind choose the appropriate and healthy course of action.
According to the Gita, self-realization is not possible without achieving stability of the mind or the state of “sthithaprajna”. Stability of mind means to remain the same in all circumstances and under all conditions.
A mind that isn’t given proper attention and is allowed to run wild can cause havoc in our lives. The uncontrolled mind is the sole source of fear, stress and anger in our lives. We’ve all had the experience of recalling instances where others might have physically, financially or emotionally
hurt us. Even though we tell ourselves that “it’s over and that there’s no need to continue to remember such instances,” we find that the mind forcibly brings these thoughts back to the forefront of our consciousness.
The Gita explains that we can either become liberated with the help of our mind or completely degrade our consciousness. Believe it or not, the choice is ours. It may be possible to avoid unpleasant situations, uncomfortable places or unfriendly people, but the mind isn’t something we can escape.
The mind lives within us and controls our thoughts, emotions and actions. We go to sleep with it every night and we wake up with it every morning. If we’re going to spend that much time with someone, doesn’t it make sense to develop a friendship with that individual? The question arises: How do you develop a friendship with someone that you can’t see or touch or really even talk to?
All of these problems arising out of the mind are rectified, over time, by serious martial arts training.
Within the training, there are aspects which play a larger role in the fostering of these abilities and traits, in particular: the Rei, the kihon and the line-up. To understand these concepts is to understand the philosophical underpinning of Hinduism – stabilizing the mind, achieving sthithaprajna and reaching eternal consciousness – for that is the goal of man. This essay will look into these concepts and examine their utility from a physical, mental and spiritual context to achieve the stability of the mind.