We read in the news that sometimes, seemingly loving families commit gruesome murders.
There was a recent news about a lorry driver who suspected that his wife was having an affair. He slit her throat when she was asleep and then hanged himself. After he slit his wife’s throat and as he was putting up the rope to hang himself, his son saw and asked his father what he was doing. His father asked him to mind his own business and go back to sleep. The next day, his daughter made the gruesome discovery. The shock came because the couple hardly argued and everything seemed normal.
The man seemed to have the frame of mind to plan everything well- a 2 page handwritten note was found as to why he had killed his wife and it also contained his wish to leave his EPF fund to his children.
What drove apparently sane individuals to do the unthinkable? To murder the ones they love and then take their own life. Or in some instances, to take their own lives forgetting that there still many reasons to live for.
This type of incidents are not triggered only on that day- it is the result of gradual weakening of the mind by too much of negative thinking- we tend to want to dwell on negative things and after a while, it build up to a crescendo or it attracts dark energies.
An unfocused mind is not strong and susceptible to ‘suggestions’
Everyone goes though depression at some time of his/her life. I remember more than 10 years ago, there was a period where I was quite depressed. I was fortunate because that time I was surrounded by caring friends- who sensed I had some problems and the fact that I talked about my problems with them as well.
But I remember vividly, one day as I was standing on the verandah at the 8 floored apartment that I was staying in, I looked down and I could hear a voice nudging me to jump. I felt that time that jumping and ending my life would solve my problem.
Fortunately, I also have fear of heights- and I was scared because the voice does not seemed to be one of my own. A friend gave me a suggestion to pray- and I went to a temple to pray for help. Not long later, I walked into a talk given at my campus on ‘Dealing with Fear’. The speaker talked about the fears we have in life- fear of unknown, of change, etc. And he recommended meditation an effective way to deal with fear. I remembered raising my hands and asking lots of questions. He told me, ‘just give meditation a try. Then you will know for yourself.’
It was then I started meditation. The moment I learned to focus my attention inward, I felt the strength- and a lot of fears I had seemed to disappear. The sadness that had been bothering me just sort of evaporated. Like many experiences that I’ve gone through in life, this is one of those that made me become stronger.
I got help and guidance at times of my life when I needed it- and that has motivated me to help others by utilizing whatever skills that I have.
An unfocused mind is like an unguarded house
When our mind is not mindful, ie it’s always thinking about external things, it’s as if you left your house unguarded- the doors and windows opened as you were busy looking outside or gossiping with the neighbors or going out to town. Thieves could get in your home easily and when you get back, they rob you at knifepoint.
How the mind becomes unfocused and loses its power
- Think or worry too much- on things that have not happened or the past that is gone
- Always planning and scheming on how to get more money, get something, etc
- Excessive negative emotion such as anger or grief
- Giving in to desires and cravings without much self control like too much drinking and taking drugs (weakens the mind), watching too much porn and entertainment shows, playing violent video games- these may seemed to be quick fixes to initial boredom, loneliness or peer pressure- but over a gradual period of time, these things are addictive and it causes too much of your energies and thought to be focused outward
Put it that way, if everything in your life is running smoothly, you will never want to wade any hard routes to look for solutions. Literally no one will start meditation or faithfully pray in church if everything you want in life always seemed to fall on your lap.
Therefore, don’t curse all the bad stuff that happens in your life- because these dark episodes give you the choice- either to sink further into the dark abyss or to rise up above and beyond and become stronger, better and happier. Some actually sunk into the abyss and decided that they don’t like it there and look for a way to rise up- if you read biographies of a lot of well known motivational speakers today- you will find that they’ve gone through dark periods of their lives. You may not think so when you are at the dumps and life looked like there will never be a day of sunshine.
But that day will come…. just have faith and work towards it. It will come….
Meditation attempts to develop tools like stronger inner focus, awareness, mindfulness, equaminity and ability to let go of things you cannot change. True meditation is not only about sitting cross legged on a cushion with your eyes closed and focusing on a meditation object. It is not a waste of time, contray to what we have been conditioned to believe- that being busy is good and sitting down and doing nothing is bad. It’s a training ground that teaches your mind to slow down and not be hopping around like a monkey the while day.
Mindfulness or inner awareness is like being aware of what is going on internally within you. I know, some people brag about going for retreats and then after that still yells at people at the slightest provocation. For those, the practice is abandoned the moment the person left the meditation cushion.
Whatever you are doing everyday, building your awareness is easy. You can start by chanting a one word mantra- like one of your faith or by just observing your breath. Just walking to work or going about doing your daily activities, be conscious of your in and out breath. It’s that simple- because this simple act draws your mind inwards and you will build up that inner awareness with practice. Try to do a short sitting before you go to sleep and the moment you get up- where you try to clear your mind and observe your breath.
At first, your mind will run around- but if you are consistent, it will slow down. And eventually, you will build stronger inner awareness. Good and bad still will happen around you and to you, but it will have less hold over your emotions.