Mental Tension and Its Resolution
Tension in the mind and pressure on the brain,
For ever muscles taut! How to mend it all?
The mind tamed, the soul new-born, the world reformed
All problems solved, no strain whatever!
Is there a process, or a system unique
To ensure total understanding, an inner revelation?
Yes, constant practice of preksha dhyana as prescribed
With arduous living, well-regulated, and faith entire.
Q.The greatest problem of the modem age is all pervading tension. Let the intellect develop ever so little or much, an individual is overwhelmed by tension on all sides. The mind, the brain, the muscles–are all filled with strain. Man is tortured by stress. How does tension originate?
Ans. There are many sources of mental tension in the human body. Anger,pride,hatred, envy, greed, etc. are all causes of tension from which no individual is free. All these complexes are found to exist in man’s mind. They are stimulated by outer factors, of which the whole environment is full. These causes are stimulated whenever an occasion offers itself. This puts pressure on the nervous system and the head grows muddled. The muscles, too, get strained, and the whole system of the body is disorganized. In view of this, the fact that tension is the most complex problem of the age, cannot be denied.
It is not that only a few people are victims of tension. In fact, rarely does one come across an individual who has no tension at all. Most people are suffering from some kind of anxiety or the other. They see its ills-effects, yet they are unable to get rid of it. Those who succeed in freeing themselves from tension, experience a unique change in themselves and others.
A young woman was prone to anger. She would fly in a temper much too often. Because of frenzy, her intelligence was warped, resulting in constant family bickerings. Later, she practiced dhyana. Her character underwent a change. Anger was controlled and the family environment grew wholesome. Earlier, her frenzy used to drive her husband mad. Later, her tranquil conduct and affectionate behavior brought about a transformation in her husband, too.
This young woman told us that her husband liked to have ever-new vegetable dishes for dinner. Earlier, even if she prepared rare dishes for him he was not satisfied; he would find some fault or the other with her cooking. Later, however, the same dishes earned from him endless praise. This incident illustrates a scientific truth: the atoms of anger sour the sweetest dish, whereas amity imparts to everything a feeling of uncommon sweetness. “The food cooked by the mother is sweeter” -the truth of this popular saying also demonstrates that atoms of love exercise upon man an altogether different, beneficent influence.
When one’s anger so deeply affects the things one makes, its impact upon one’s own life is bound to be even greater. A person dominated by anger develops a criminal outlook. He becomes querulous and is even ready to commit suicide.
The problem of tension is nothing new. Even people of ancient times were not free from its undesirable effects. But today this problem has become specially acute. With growing intellectualism, there has been an increase in man’s reasoning power, resulting in greater capacity for thinking and feeling. Consequently, one identifies oneself with one’s situation, whatever it be, much more consciously. And where there is any kind of identification, tension is the natural outcome. Constant preoccupation from morning till evening is also productive of tension. A still greater cause is the absence of any natural contact with religion. In the absence of a religious or spiritual environment, man’s approach towards life also changes for the worse. In conclusion, one may say that in today’s world, an individual is surrounded by so many factors of tension that he cannot possibly avoid it.
Q.The problem of growing tension in the modern world is quite apparent. The symposiums and surveys conducted in this connection also point to the conclusion that modern man is far more tension-ridden than his predecessors. Is there no solution to this problem?
Ans. There is no problem without a solution. Whenever we are faced with a burning problem, the need for a solution becomes urgent. In accordance with the acuteness of the problem, the search for a solution is equally intense. On the ground of spirituality, tension can be resolved by disciplining the mind and by purifying the soul. The talk of disciplining the mind seems so simple, and pleasant too. But the mind cannot be disciplined without sadhana. From the point of view of achieving freedom from mental tension, it is much more valuable to practice the technique of relaxation rather than merely talk about its necessity. Because one cannot go on to the roof without first finding the staircase. The moment one practices the technique, there is a perceptible easing of tension. It seems therefore necessary to pass through a certain process to resolve the problem of tension for ever.
What is that process? The answer lies in the technique of preksha dhyana. The process of preksha dhyana is complete in itself. Through it, it is possible to be free from both the internal and external factors of tension. Here is a two-pronged way to salvation. Although it is beyond any one individual to remove the external factors, it is quite possible to reduce the injurious effect of the internal ones. The outer influences work only if they are supported from within. In the event of the inner causes being allayed, the outer influences are rendered ineffectual. Those who wish to be free from mental tension should, therefore, concentrate more on the internal causes there causes. To quench the virulence of inner passions, there is no other way, but meditation.
The inner causes manifest themselves through the mind, through speech, through the body and through breath. The mind in itself has no flaw,. but flaws are experienced through the mind. When the mind, the speech, the body and the breath are disciplined, the internal passions start languishing. These can operate only in extroversion consciousness. The moment the pilgrimage of introversion starts, they become inactive.
Meditation means the consciousness of introversion. In order to make consciousness introversive, the discipline of the mind, speech, body and breath is essential. These four factors can be conducive to the practice of dhyana, they could also be obstructive. In the state of introversion they are beneficial, but in the state of extroversion, they become impediments. In a state of tension, the mind is troublesome, speech is acrid, the body is full of suffering and even breath is difficult. The moment tension is removed, all these become enjoyable. To transform pain into joy, systematic practice is necessary. For any pursuit in any field of life, there is no success without practice. It is during the periods of practice that one must have deep faith in one’s adopted system of sadhana. In the absence of faith or devotion, everything goes topsy-turvy. The problem of tension can certainly be resolved by faith, combined with constant, systematic practice of relaxation.