Coverage by Bhat Dittakavi of Variance.AI on “Games, your mind plays with you” by S.A. Sreedharan along with Sridhar Reddy of CtrlS on 12th June 2020
Intellectual discussions are stimulating to the mind. When I see a guru discuss with a seeker, the whole discussion makes the listeners think, role play and resolve the unanswered questions, some times subconsciously. Every listener comes to these sessions with a problem on mind, consciously or subconsciously and probably walks away with an answer, or a direction or a clean slate of mind that is good enough to ultimately solve the problem. Here I yet another intellectual discussion between these gentlemen named Sridhar of CtrlS and SA Sreedharan of Vedanta that brings in more enlightenment about the makings of contrasting entities called mind and intellect.
Sridhar: This session is about how attentive you are and how well you overcome the games that your mind play with you. You need the attention of an young child to get the best out of this session. This topic is never taught in our school. This topic may sound easy but it required undivided attention and curiosity. I used to meet S.A. Sreedharan in Himalayas. The first 20 minutes I spent with him made me spend 50 hours to learn and implement his words.
S.A. Sreedharan: Lectures from the others are of no use unless you lecture yourself. You must be having a childlike attitude. Just like the receptivity of a blotting paper.
Mind is winning hands down in the games it plays with you. We are helpless victims of the mind games. What is mind? How about intellect? Your physical body is the outer personality. Mind and intellect are inner personalities. Emotions such as feelings, likes and dislikes, impulses come from the mind. Intellect is your thinking faculty. It brings the logic and makes your choices better. The third one is intelligence. Using the mind and intellect to become proficient in a particular field is intelligence. Intelligence doesn’t bring the quality of living.
Mind: Feelings, emotions, impulses, likes & dislikes
Intellect: Thinks, reasons, judges and decides
Having emotions is beautiful but becoming emotional is not. John Milton said, “the mind in its own place and in itself, can make a hell out of heaven, and heaven out of hell”. What was wonderful in the beginning becomes detrimental. It is the play of mind. Divorces increase and there is lot of havoc in various relationships.
The biggest flaw is your mind doesn’t allow you to stay quiet. At any point of time, your mind makes you not to be in the present moment. It goes around with the worries of the past, anxieties of the future and the excitement of the present. We are hardly in the true present. You may be in a luxurious apartment and drive a swanky car. This is why you say “those were the days”. This means we are never in the present moment.
1 ) Mind plays the game where in it never lets you concentrate.
2) Mind doesn’t allow you to enjoy the relationships. You get attached to the partner, children and possessions. Attachment is the ocean of love. Love with selfishness is attachment. Attachment is here unintelligent and uninterrupted flow of thoughts from you to a person or an object.
3) Mind makes you continuously dependent on a source such as work, wealth and possessions. This dependency makes you a slave and a victim.
Quality of life becomes better when you play all the roles to the best of your ability. You are an employee, spouse, child, parent, friend, colleague, citizen and so on. You play various roles and don’t let just one role define who you are. You minus that dominant role makes it very difficult for you. The others can dictate you if you are dependent on one role.
Mind never keeps you satisfied. I believe in greater goals. But the mind is like a loop that not just transcends your desire but upgrades your desire. Aspiration to obsession that destroys you. Obsession brings the greed that is the cause of destruction. the intellect keeps your desire as aspiration and the mind makes it an obsession.
The first time you consume mangoes at the beginning of the season, you feel great. In the third week, the return diminishes. The law diminishing value seeks variety and as a result you give into affairs. Watch out for the games of minds.
Never lets you be in the present. Never lets you enjoy the relations. Always makes you dependent. Never lets you satisfied. It makes you greedy and it wants variety. These are the four games of the mind. Mind plus Intelligence brings in ego which stands for Exaggerated Glorified Oneself. Add intellect to these two and you get humility.
Can we be true to ourselves? Follow your conviction. If this is not strong, follow your conscious. If you are not true to yourself, you suffer. Everyone has inner voice but is not accessible. Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. -Lao Tzu
Sridhar: How do we gain control over mind to be in the present? Why should we be in the present?
S.A. Sreedharan: We have control factor in the present. We can neither control on the past nor on the future. Learn lessons from the past but it is not your life sentence. Goal is important but the focus has to be on the present moment. Don’t discount the past or future. However, you can do nothing about past or future. How well you control the present helps your future.
Sridhar: Emotions are fine and emotional is the game mind plays with you.
S.A. Sreedharan: People understand emotions only through expression. Certain people are not expressive by nature, it doesn’t make them lack emotions. When you turn to your partner, initially, there is affection. Then selfishishness comes, then jealousy, then anger and we give into these emotions and hence the emotional drama happens. Don’t become victim of emotions that makes you emotional. Instead, express your emotion in terms of gratitude. Gratitude wall in the office is the best painting you can have on the wall. Every day say prostrations to your mother, father, guru and the almighty. It works. Start the morning with gratitude and end the day with thankfulness.
In the corporate sector, teams look for validation as an intensive. Even children in the family needs it.
Sridhar: How do we stop ourselves becoming emotional?
S.A. Sreedharan: Any experience plus non-acceptance is a negative emotion. Certain behavior plus non-acceptance of an action becomes anger. A person is ready and he got into a wonderful car and then there is a traffic jam! He bangs on the steering and yells at the traffic. What do I do if I get stuck in the traffic? I call up my old friends. I convert the anger into a positive experience. Yelling won’t airlift my luxurious car on a freeway. Instead, listen to an old song while you wait in the traffic. When you finally reach your work, you will have positive mindset despite being delayed.
Sridhar: Dependency in relations is a cause for lots of distress. Then we get attached to our dear ones. Why is this not good?
S.A. Sridharan: Co-dependency is natural. Complete dependency means we derive pleasure and happiness from the same relation or family member. You can cherish a relation but you can never own a relationship. You can enjoy and cherish the sun bath but you can never own the sun! You can cherish your relation, but you can’t own it. Your children come through you but not from you. They have their own behavior. Bringing the ownership over your kids, you are enforcing things on them. You bring expectations. Happily get along or peacefully get away.
Sridhar: You talked about “don’t depend on one role”. Elaborate.
S.A.Sridharan: If you define yourself with one role, if that role is taken away, you feel empty. If one role dominates, switching costs are much higher. One has to value each of the roles he or she plays in life. This makes one mentally available. Otherwise, one role consumes you the whole day. It is like building only biceps and no other muscles. In business you may get hundred chances, but in parenting you don’t get a second chance. Value other roles too. After a mild heart attack, you find time for jogging. Why not before? Associating value to health after a health shock is common, why not do it before. Over a period of time you understand the value of these diversified roles.
Sridhar: My first company was all about one role sas its founder, nothing else. If not for that role, I would not be where I am. This is conflict. Now I balance various roles.
S.A.Sridharan: I am talking about the quality of time spent on roles, not the quantity. There is a sense of calmness one derives through the roles so it helps your role at work. Certain roles can’t be repaired over time. It requires time and effort. Let the other roles and its connections be communicated enough that a particular role needs dedicated couple of years. Awareness, understanding and communication are the key else it is detrimental.
Sridhar: How about boredom?
S.A.Sreedharan: Abstinence is pleasure. Exposure isn’t. When you get bored, either there is too much exposure or you haven’t enhanced your goal. Intellect shall bring the mental abstinence. Ask yourself, am i stagnated at work? Questions like this make the intellect raise above the boredom.
Sridhar: How do we deal with catch 22 of past and future? It takes two hours to get to sleep.
S.A. Sreedharan: This means you entertained a thought and that thought cycle has not been resolved. People sleep on a holiday is because there are few incomplete though life cycles. You can’t sleep when you inadvertently worry about something. Ask “why am I not getting sleep?” Find the root cause of what kept me awake.