Master Your Moods

From Pratiksha Apurv's desk Media Watch

The first step is to stop projecting your moods on to the other person. Then witness this phenomenon, writes Pratiksha Apurv in Speaking Tree, New Delhi, India, July 18, 2016

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What do you do when one day, you suddenly find yourself bursting with love for someone, or you wake up with tremendous jealousy and hate for a colleague? In both states, your focus is not you, but others. If you feel a surge of love towards ‘A’, you completely forget yourself, the very source of that love and ‘A’ becomes the only object of your attention. In case you hate ‘B’, even then you forget yourself, because now ‘B’ is the object of your hate and you do not remember the source. In both the situations, you — the source — is projecting your moods on someone else, without realising that you are the centre of the present mood. If you want to master your moods, the first step is to stop projecting your moods on to the other person and witness this phenomenon, which is actually based on your chakras or energy centres inside.

Witnessing-The key to Mastering Moods
Witnessing: The Key to Mastering Moods, Acrylic & Oil on canvas, 2016, 48′ x 84′

Seven Chakras

Of the seven chakras mentioned in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad, the first three chakras — the root, sacral, and the solar plexus — are connected to body-level experiences, such as sex, money and ego.

The fourth is the heart chakra, which is linked to things like jealousy and love. The fifth is the throat chakra. Known as Vishuddhi, it is located at the root of the neck and defines oratory skills. The sixth chakra, also known as the third eye or Ajna chakra, defines awareness and witnessing. The seventh is the crown chakra, which helps one go beyond the state of witnessing, into a state of cosmic consciousness or the state of enlightenment.

Each chakra defines our mood and activities, depending on the movement of our energy at any particular time. All seven chakras can be depicted through their respective colours. The root chakra is red; the sacral chakra, which stands for emotions, is orange; the solar plexus chakra is depicted by yellow colour; the heart chakra is green; the throat chakra is blue; the third eye chakra is indigo, and the crown chakra stands for cosmic consciousness and is violet in colour.

In the painting, Witnessing:The Key To Mastering Moods, I have tried to depict the seven chakras and the moods linked to the movement of energy in them. Osho says to master the moods, one has to understand that their expression is no different from their suppression. In both cases, the other person continues to be the centre of attention. To master your moods one has to understand the source, where the moods are arising from, and move towards the source of this anger, hate, or love. In the western world, various methods are recommended to control your moods and to deal with your mood swings.

Ages ago, spiritual masters gave us a simple method to master our moods; it is called witnessing. During his younger days, Zen master Lin Chi used to spend long hours boating alone. Once he was meditating on a small boat when suddenly something struck his vessel. His eyes were shut but he thought that a boatman had hit his boat deliberately. Anger arose in Master Lin Chi and he opened his eyes to shout at the boatman, but he was surprised to see the boat was empty. It was floating in the waters because it was not anchored.This was a peculiar situation; he did not know whom to express his anger on. He closed his eyes despite being angry and tried to go back in his mind towards the origin of this emotion. He started witnessing the entire sequence of events of that night and suddenly he found himself moving to the centre. He had watched the boat from outside and now he was watching it from inside. And, a stage came when there was nothing to witness, but only a deep silence.

Quantum Leap

In our scriptures, this process is explained as a quantum leap, where the witness has nothing to witness anymore. This moving to the centre also means movement of energy. The Bhagwad Gita talks about how Arjuna’s mood was uplifted after he sat with Krishna in the battlefield and learnt the art of witnessing or moving towards sakshi bhav. The Gita, verse 13:30, states: Prakrtyaiva cakarmani kriyamanani sarvasah yah pasyati tathatmanam akartaram sa pasyati. Krishna tells Arjuna that the one who can witness that all activities are being performed by the body which is built of five materials, and at the same time sees that the self does nothing, is actually in a state of witnessing. Further, in verse 35, Krishna adds: Ksetra-ksetrajnayor evam antaram jnana-caksusa bhutaprakrti- moksam ca ye vidur yanti te param. He says to Arjuna that the person who witnesses the difference between the body and its owner also knows about the process of liberation from this bodily bondage, and is able to attain the supreme goal.

The Ishavasya Upanishad, shloka 8, also talks about witnessing:
Sa Paryagacchukramakayamavranam, asnavarnam suddhamapapaviddham, kavirmanisi Paribhuh svayambhu, yathatathyatorthan vyadadhat. He, the self, is everywhere, without a body, without muscles and without any sin. The radiant, whole, pure and one seeing all and knowing all, encompassing all. He has assigned the respective duties to the eternal prajapatis. The Supreme Self is omnipresent as consciousness. For a traveller on an inner journey, there is no sin; he is just a witness, an observer. The silent witnessing, says Ishavasya Upanishad, is the key for balancing and mastering oneself.

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