All our problems originate in the mind. We carry in our minds the fears and phobias, insecurities, anxieties, false concepts and notions, etc., according to the data that has been fed to us right from our birth. We get thoroughly conditioned by these and then find it very difficult to break out of it. Unless we have an open mind and a discriminative intellect we cannot transcend the mental conditioning.
Our mind is cluttered with millions of unwanted thoughts. As long as we are a witness to it, it is not a problem. Our problem starts when we start identifying with it. As long as a boat is in the water there is no problem, but when the water starts getting into the boat then it becomes a catastrophe. When the negativity of this world and our own lives enter the mind our miseries start. How to prevent these from entering the mind?
Though we cannot prevent the negativity in this world nor can we prevent negative events and experiences manifesting in our lives from time to time, which is the result of our own past karma-s, at least we can choose not to be affected by them. We have to live in this world; we can’t run away from it. Then how to live without being affected by the world around us? We need to live like the lotus in the water. The lotus is born in water and lives and perishes in water, yet it doesn’t allow a single drop of water to stick to it. The moment a water drop falls on it, it flows down instantly. It remains untouched by the dirt in the water. Similarly, we are born in this world and live in the waters of samsaara (worldly life); like the lotus we can also live by being untouched by the waters of samsaara, without being affected by it.
This can be done in two ways. Firstly, we need to get rid of all the useless garbage we have accumulated in our minds in the form of false notions, concepts, phobias, superstitions and various mental conditionings by discriminative and rational analyses of everything that affects us negatively. Secondly, we need to practise being a witness to the contents of our mind and intellect. By not identifying with the contents of the mind-intellect equipment and being a witness to it, we can prevent ourselves from being affected by the negativity around us as well as in our own lives.
The entire water of the ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.
Similarly, the negativity of the whole world can’t pull us down unless we allow it to get inside us and get identified with it.