The power behind yogic and stoic ‘indifference’

3 yogic principles to deal with stress

By Anjaan

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Published: Fri 13 May 2022, 12:08 AM

Our ability to respond instead of react is an important element in any situation we face. According to Yogic Rishis this can come through with a healthy mind, which often leads to a healthy body. Conversely, an unhealthy mind can lead to an unhealthy body and this can cause us to be reactive. However, there can seldom be a healthy body without a healthy mind. The power of the mind is, therefore, humongous in self-regulation.

If the mind is in a state of good health, it can move on undeterred after every troubling situation. A good mind is a product of good thoughts. Good thoughts are that which are free of selfishness, greed and envy.

Our judgmental nature

We encounter external impressions constantly. We receive a stimulus of a situation, apply a verdict based upon our moral wisdom, and then decide whether the event stimulus is true or false, good or bad, virtue or sin.

When you cannot determine this, you will let go of judgment and categorise it as indifferent. Indifference, however, does not mean lacking interest — rather it brings about equanimity. To be able to come to the decision that we need not decide whether this situation is good or bad and therefore suspend our judgment of it.

The ancient Yogic text, the Bhagavad Gita, says: “One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is the true Yogi, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.”

Be hopeless and fearless

Hope and fear are figments of human imagination. When we fear, our mind is affected in an undesirable way; when we hope, we seek viable alternatives. The Yogic thought, however, professes a Golden middle path — a state of perfect equilibrium where you are neither worried nor fearful. You are neither happy nor unhappy.

You may wonder, what’s the use of a mind that’s neither joyful nor sorrowful? As a matter of fact, an indifferent mind, in many ways, helps to lead a fruitful life and is in a state of perpetual bliss. It knows the eternal truth, that in life neither happiness nor sorrow is forever; both are temporary and such a mind shuns both.

With this stoic disposition, you can focus on growth and concentrate on work. This type of mind will help you to do great things not just for oneself and your family, but for the entirety of humanity. Yet, detached from the fruits of action.

The power behind yogic and stoic ‘indifference’

It’s not that the yogis or the stoics didn’t care, it’s that they were good either way. Does that make sense?

An indifferent mind is bereft of temporary passion, yet it has a vision. It’s never afflicted with pains. Since it’s without sadness and happiness, it’s never in stress or distress, let alone crisis. It looks at the whole world as if it is a show on Netflix, as a detached spectator. It’s neither bothered with tragic scenes nor happy endings.

Since this type of mind is bereft of stress and any positive or negative emotion, such a mind is well suited to handle any crisis, not just at an individual level, but at a larger world level as well. This type of mind looks at the situation objectively. It assesses objectives, but never clings on to sentiments, negative or positive. This is the highest form of sobriety.

Can you develop such a mind? Think of that today, that it’s not about apathy or even a lack of expectation. It’s simply the quiet strength of not needing a preference because you’re that strong.

Connect with Anjaan across social media @MeditateWithAnjaan

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