By DR BHUSHAN KUMAR UPADHYAYA
From the time immemorial human mind has been a very hot topic of discussion amongst thinkers all over the world. Modern psychologists like Freud,Jung ,etc, have given deep insights into the mechanism and working of human mind. The recent branch of Positive Psychology has laid immense emphasis on infusing positivity in human mind through numerous techniques and deliberate patterns of thinking. Positive Psychology is the result of new discoveries in 90s about the human mind that it is elastic and can be changed.Prior to that it was believed in the West that human mind is not changeable. Contrary to that Indian thinking has always believed in the evolutionary nature of human mind. According to Indian philosophy, yoga, tantra,etc, mind can be elevated to the highest pinnacles of purity and expansion through different yogic techniques. Indian philosophical and yogic texts are full of such experiments, discoveries and experiences. The oft quoted statement about human mind in Indian tradition - Mana Eva Manushyanan Karanan Bandhamokshayoh - declares that mind alone is the cause of liberation and bondage of human beings. That's why all philosophical,yogic and tantric texts have evolved their own methods and techniques to control and calm the mind. The three main streams of mind control are clubbed as Gyana ( knowledge), Bhakti (devotion) and Karma (action). All these three commonly are called yoga.
As long as modification of mind is not controlled, there is no chance of progress on the path of self-evolution. Yogashchittavrittinirodhah is the most popular definition of yoga by Patanjali in Yoga Sutras. It means yoga is controlling the different mental waves arising out of our sensory perceptions with contact of the mind. The study and practice of mind management, both eastern and western suggest that chant, breath manipulation and visualisation are the most potent techniques to calm the mind. When we chant or do conscious humming, vibrations are generated in our nasal passage. There is nitric oxide in our nasal passage. As a result of vibrations, nitric oxide is released and after getting poured into blood , it relaxes the psychophysiological system and slows down our mind. These soothing vibrations have great consonance with our heart rate and biorhythm. In his famous book The Humming Effect Jonathan Goldman asserts that humming has great threpeutic and transformational impact on human body. Secondly breath is the outward manifestation of the mind. So when we slow down our breath with different pranayamic techniques, our mind is automatically slowed down. Again longer exhalation activates our parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest and digest.
In his book Breathing Michael Sky states that breathing techniques lead to inner peace, health, calmness and vitality. Harish Johari propounds in his famous book Breath, Mind And Consciousness that breath is the physical instrument of the mind and the study of consciousness starts with the study of breath. The emotional state of human beings is totally dependent on the state of breath. Visualisation is a very powerful tool to calm the mind. According to neuroscience vital organs of our body react in accordance with the thought waves originating in our mind. Vital organs do not come in direct contact with external objects. Even if there is no fear or happiness, mere thoughts of fear or happiness create corresponding emotions in our mind and there is psychophysiological arousal in our body. The famous American poet- philosopher Emerson has said, ‘Man becomes what he thinks’. In the technique of visualisation we greatly influence our body through the mind. So the combined practice of chant, breath and visualisation is the most effective tool to calm our mind and make it more creative and stress-free.
(The writer is DG Police and CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)