“Stopping emotional indigestion,” Linda said, “just turn off the TV news, the fake news.” Linda was referring to my blog two weeks ago when I said that agni sara would process our negative emotions.
Yes, that is the best way to short circuit the mind’s way of experiencing fear and anxiety, according to yoga. All we need to do is protect our mind from anything that triggers fear, anxiety or frustration. That’s the way the mind works, says yoga. Our emotions and subsequent actions are an automatic response from our mental patterns (samskaras) which get activated by external stimuli.
All external stimuli become the motivating spark for all of our unconscious actions, unless we are aware of the contents of our mind. Whenever anything that we have seen, thought or done in the past, stays dormant for a period of 40 days, the external trigger becomes weak and the “automatic” action may not even happen.
For instance, just as a hypothetical example, let’s say I have a habit (a samskara) of getting a latte’ and pastry at Starbucks’ every morning on my way to work. After a few times, it becomes quite automatic for my car to just turn into the parking lot and get out of the car to get my morning sugar and caffeine fix. I don’t even have to think because my eyes automatically pick up the Starbucks’ sign as I pass. Even if I go to work another way and just happen to pass a Starbucks’ sign, I turn my car right into the parking lot.
A similar action happens for my Mary every time she passes a Culver’s store. I don’t even notice that a Culvers is in the vicinity, but Mary’s mind picks it up right away, automatically.
So, in order to change my habit, I need to not see the Starbucks’ sign on my way to work. My samskara (habit) is then no longer triggered and I don’t get my sugar and caffeine fix that day.
Yoga says that if I change my route to work for 40 days in a row, the motivating power of the caffeine and sugar sign of Starbucks will diminish. I will begin to have some control over my costly traveling-to-work habit. I may have some withdrawal symptoms from the lack of sugar and caffeine in my body in the morning, but eventually that will go away and I will be a free man.
I know yoga is correct about this habit-altering practice because I broke my cigarette smoking habit by telling my unconscious mind that I did not need cigarettes for almost 40 days in a row.
So, Linda is correct!
In order for me to experience peace and happiness and not feel depressed about the world’s tragic and mixed-up political events, all I need do is not listen to television news, not look at the news on my yahoo email, and have non-news-and politics-oriented discussions with people.
This makes our journey to peace and happiness an inward journey, of maintaining silence and positive, loving thoughts, while we live and act in the external world.
Does that mean that I am called to be a monk in a monastery or a yogi in a Himalayan cave? Am I to go through this earthly life sleeping/ignoring the external world? Or just thinking of the Divine Mother all day long?
Let’s explore that next week!