Human beings go through different developmental patterns as a part of our natural evolution. For instance, we begin in the ontogenetic process where our body goes through many developmental patterns from the embryonic stage to the adulthood. There is also the phylogenetic evolution of the human species from one-celled animal to a human being. These patterns are natural which flow with life.
However, there are also certain patterns that are anti-life such as the wrong mental patterns which can be very dangerous to our existence. In my life, I realized I have been ruled by one great enemy – my own mental patterns which constantly pull me back to similar pains & suffering. Patterns like anger, restlessness, laziness and lacking intensity are just some of my mental patterns which I am aware and are continuously working on myself. When working with people, I notice that many people are able to understand intellectually the benefits of health and prevention through practice of yoga. But they are not willing to give time and attention to themselves to work on their body due to the pattern of laziness which resists change. In the initial period when I first started to teach yoga, I used to get affected by students who are not committed in their practice despite experiencing the benefits of the yoga practice. There were times I thought I was the problem. After having understood about the nature of mental patterns, I only have compassion for them for they are stuck in their own mental patterns which require deeper understanding, courage and inspirations.
Why are mental patterns dangerous? Here are the reasons I discovered:-
- Mental patterns (samskaras) are deeper than engraved memories (engrams), meaning it is more subtle and more deeply rooted. A pattern can sprout from a thought of desire into a pattern of migraine. For example, an ordinary thought of desire “A coffee in the morning is very nice”. After one month, one’s thought becomes “I should have my morning coffee” when the memory becomes an engram i.e. a thought with attachment. After one year, this engram develops into muscle memory “I get low mood if I don’t have my morning coffee”. After a few years, this engram at the muscles memory penetrates into the bio-memory when “I will have migraine if I don’t have the morning coffee.” After some 6 t 10 years, if one is marooned into a remote island, without access to any coffee, one rolls on the ground with severe migraine. This is a pattern at the DNA level. All patterns begin with a simple contemplation of desire.
- A mental pattern is also very tricky because whenever we are associated with a pattern, we can never come out of the problems. Pattern is not capable of troubling you when you are not associated with it. When you don’t associate with a pattern, it will not have life. When you are not associated with a pattern, you will not have pressure to give life to the pattern. The moment you associate with a pattern, it gets life. It will start making you play according to it. That’s why it is easy for you to work on others but fail when it is you. It starts to make you suspect everything other than yourself.
- Patterns take away life from us and make us go through the same pain or suffering repeatedly unless we learn to break free from our mental patterns. Mental patterns curtail the possibility of expansion in life and limit the ability to express our infinite potential.
- Most importantly, all diseases or disorders are caused by certain mental setup. Some of the strong patterns include – putting yourself in guilt, shouting at others and putting others in guilt. These patterns actually damage our nervous system by sending strong electric current to our body which leads us to diseases.
What are the solutions to counter our mental patterns? From the wisdom of Bhagavad-Gita, I’ve discovered the following techniques really work.
- Build a strong yogic body. A strong body and strong digestive system can minimize the impact from mental patterns in our nervous system. Many ancient masters and sages insist on strong yogic body built by Hatha Yoga because a body-based person is likely to have strong nervous system with strong digestive system. The digestive system forms our ability to hold the electric signal current. If the stomach and body are strong, the pattern cannot send the signals to the nervous system whereas a person with weak stomach is likely to be affected by negative signals.
- Be aware. As a part of a spiritual practice, I was given a technique to pen down the top 10 mental patterns which we want to remove on a monthly basis. Writing them down consciously helps to bring greater awareness within us and with the divine blessing of a guru’s grace, we will be constantly aware of those mental patterns in our daily life.
- Be devoted to higher source other than you. A feeling connection with something higher than us – God or Guru, nullifies the constant harassment we go through in our body and mind. This requires us to raise our frequency of cognizance beyond the body-mind.
- Yoga is efficiency in action. Society trains us to constantly work for rewards. But this mental pattern reduces our creativity and infinite potential. I’ve learnt from Sri Krishna, the incarnation who guided the warrior-prince, Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita, that yoga is efficiency in action. Go on performing actions from the transformed inner space without envy, desire for reward or a feeling of ownership, then nothing can touch our pure Being.
I remembered in one of Swamiji’s discourses, he said that “Each pattern in your mind is a knot. If you don’t have any patterns, you are performing to your maximum capacity. The moment you perform to your maximum capacity today, your maximum capacity will automatically increase tomorrow! If you raise your capacity to ten units, immediately God is there to supply 100 units of possibility. Expressing your maximum capacity means continuously working and constantly breaking the record you set. When you are put in a strong survival threat, you just do it or otherwise you are stuck with all small problems and politics.”
The above 4 golden techniques form my guiding compass in life now. Namaste.