Do you have the Brake ?

Sometime last year Swami Pragyapad visited the Cupertino Art of Living Center on his way to Sacramento for (I think) Art of Living Silence program.

It was one-two hour satsang. A techie in approach , an IIT graduate, it wasn’t too surprising but I felt refreshingly enthused to hear him ask us – “What makes a good car ?”

People replied – Engine Power, better mileage, Good traction, Quick acceleration, Maneuverability, Sturdiness, etc..

After listening for a while, he simply said (not verbatim here) – “You can design a great engine , the car can clock great speeds, great to maneuver but if it doesn’t have good brakes or no brakes, no one would want the car to be taken out for a drive. Because you could end up in an accident.”

The same goes for our mind.

So much thoughts, desires, ambitions, feelings hit our mind and if we are not able to know how to handle them , then we are lost. We have lost our minds. It is our responsibility to have a good brake so that the mind doesn’t race or go wherever it wants to, driven by desires and thoughts.

The moment we are caught in emotions , thoughts, we have to apply brake on them to prevent the mind in getting entangled. Culturing the practice of observing the breath, observing the words we speak, sitting back and following the breath can help.

Recently there were moments where I yielded to anger and words just came so fast that I couldn’t frame proper sentence to speak. Had I observed the sensations in my body and change of breath and little bit of the memory of the bad effects of speaking angrily, I would have avoided it. But then after that episode, a conscious effort to observe what I feel in my body, what thoughts are flowing, how the breath moves have indeed done great good.

To build a good braking system, we need to increase our Prana (subtle life force) by regular practice of breathing techniques, meditation, little bit of music (any art), little bit of service activities.

[About Swami Pragyapad, popularly known as the “Smiling Swami”, is one of the most natural people you would have the opportunity to meet. He is one of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s most senior teachers in India and now teaches the Art of Living’s most Advanced Courses and the Blessings Course. An IIT Powai graduate (one of the top technical college in India), he is one of the most dynamic full time teachers of Art of Living.]