A while ago, I met a friend who has been meditating for the good part of two decades. Recently, he was in a rather challenging predicament. The situation had thrust him into agitation and extreme worry. He was in a bad mood, I would say. But isn’t a person who has been meditating for more than 20 years can easily navigate his mood? Shouldn’t he be calm and deal with the situation with a serene state of mind?

If he has not developed a serene mind after meditating for such a long time then what has he truly achieved? Here’s where we need to look at the calmness of the mind from a different perspective. It’s not that his meditative practices are incorrect. The reason is that one is not supposed to be calm all the time, and frankly, it’s impractical. 

The Unrealistic Nature of a 24/7 Serene Mind

We live in a transactional world where all kinds of events take place. From meeting deadlines to being lectured by a superior, children dealing with bullies at school, the elderly facing the consequences of an ungrateful child, and so on.

We live in a world where people win overnight success with a lottery, get robbed, and are back to square one. We live in a world where robberies, violence, abuse, and all other kinds of atrocities are plentily available. This is what makes our world transactional, where we are giving, receiving; receiving, and giving. It is unrealistic to simply live with one attribute – serenity.

I have yet to meet a Buddhist practitioner who is calm all the time. This is not supposed to be possible at the transactional level but only if someone has attained the transcendent level. The “transcendent level” refers to attaining a state of mind that goes beyond the limits of ordinary human perception. This level of consciousness transcends the physical or material realm. It is often associated with cosmic oneness, divine awareness, or spiritual enlightenment. Whereas the transactional level is that state of mind where you have yet not transcended and risen above it all.

Therefore, it is impossible and outright unrealistic to expect even a person who has meditated for more than 20 years to remain calm all the time.

Steady is the Mind that Anchors the Mind

Gurudev Shri Shri Ravi Shankar once said – Steadiness is dignity, steadiness is strength. It is dispassion.

Therefore, one must not achieve a mind of serenity in a world bludgeoned by transactions. One must attain a mind of steadiness. Steadiness refers to achieving a composed state of mind, one that is resilient in challenging times. It is a state of emotional balance, where yes, one can get affected by the challenges, unfortunate moments, and sorrows of life. However, even under the influence of it all, one finds a way to maintain a steady mind. You cannot find a solution when the mind is experiencing torrential thoughts of negativity and worry. However, when one is calm, one can think clearly. But you can’t stay calm all the time. This is why, despite agitation, one can achieve steadiness of mind which brings in sturdiness of mind.

The task is simple! Anchor yourself in steadiness that you are equipped to navigate through difficulties.

A sturdy mind can help keep the boat steady.

Therefore, convert your inner potential into efficiency. Convert your strength into valor through action. It is extremely difficult, unnerving, and unfair to stay calm in situations where one requires action. Therefore, set yourself in the direction that leads toward a high spiritual quotient so that you may develop a steady mind.

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