Human Sufferings

Rajesh Sahai, Siva Bhavan, Bhagalpur

Throughout the recorded history of the world, people enduring various forms of oppression and suffering under many different types of rule from theocracy to oligarchy, have substituted one system for another as a result of negative experiences under the original. However, in most cases they have only exchanged old problems for new. Every superficial attempt to deal with human suffering results only in its transformation into another form, if not in the aggravation of the existing suffering.

It is unfortunate that, although we live in the age of science, our approach to this question continues to be unscientific. At every moment we make vain attempts to run away from our sufferings and search out happiness. Have you ever thought about how they may be completely eliminated?

Look deep within yourself. Are you happy? Is there any dissatisfaction? Do you enjoy optimum health of body and mind? In short, is there suffering in your life?

Also, think of the other side of the coin, the coin of your experience. One side of it is suffering while the other is bliss and joy. Ordinarily, not a single moment goes by without the signature of some kind of experience, be it misery, joy or a mixture of both.

It is this element called experience that determines our actions. The basic motivating force in each individual is the quest for experience of a positive and lasting nature. If you can see this fact as a detached witness, then you may easily be able to trace back this experience to its very source, the source of both joy and misery. Experience involves two essential ingredients. Firstly, there is the source of the experience and secondly, the recipient who registers it and offers responses. For the sake of convenience we can divide the origin of experience into two classifications: (a) emanating from a human point and (b) emanating from the rest of creation which we can call nature. The human origin, in essence, is mind, be it an individual or group manifestation. The same mind is also the recipient or experiencer.

The Human Mind

Having identified the mind as the seat of each human experience and response, scores of researchers all over the world have addressed themselves diligently to the task of exploring its unknown realm. Very few people have a clear understanding of the true nature of the mind - it is not just a bundle of thoughts and/or brain functions. The mind may be likened to an iceberg, the major part of which remains submerged. Many eminent scientists have emphatically stated that much of our mental potential remains untapped. These faculties and potentials lie dormant in the subconscious area of the mind. This area has a much wider range of function than the conscious. It is the subconscious which is responsible for the operation of the various automatic functions of the body such as respiration, blood circulation and so on. It is also the area of mind which gives rise to instinctive urges, complexes, fears and obsessions. Another part of the mind in the realm of the subconscious analyses the incoming data (including all sense perception) and compares it with information already stored in the memory, providing conclusions and setting into motion functions based in these conclusions. The results of this unconscious processing often manifest effortlessly in our conscious minds. We have all been faced with a problem which we were unable to answer at a given moment in time, only to discover that at some later time the answer has automatically surfaced without any extra input. Yet another sphere of the subconscious accounts for the so called 'super-conscious' which is the source of intuition, bliss and transcendental experiences. It is from this region that genius derives its inspiration.

Body and Mind

All of the body is in the mind but not all of the mind is in the body. Although scientific research has not yet been adequate to conclusively demonstrate this truth, an earnest probe does continue in this direction. Scientists have begun to appreciate the complexity of each and every cell in the body within which is to be found remarkable knowledge and intelligence. It is only during the last few years that they have been able to build a model of the DNA molecule, the molecule of life. Contained in the sperm and ovum as well as in every cell in the body, the DNA molecule transmits all of the hereditary characteristics from parents to children.

Brain Waves

The existence of brain waves or brain rhythms was noticed at the end of the last century during research into the brains of monkeys. In the early part of this century, this research field spread to humans and it was discovered that the frequency, voltage and amplitude of the waves varied considerably with different states of consciousness. It has been found that a direct relationship exists between he brainwave pattern and the state of an individual's mind. For instance, when one is in a wakeful and extroverted state, using the brain for rational thinking, beta waves are recorded. Alpha waves are related to a relaxed state of mind and creative thinking. Theta waves are profusely emitted during sleep when unconscious data or impressions bubble to the surface. These waves are also manifested during deep states of meditation, ecstasy and receptivity to extra-sensory perception. Delta waves are high amplitude waves closely linked to deep, dreamless sleep wherein one is greatly receptive to learning, even from recorded tapes.

As research continues in this area, science begins to give us a better understanding of how the mind works - what the yogis have known for centuries. But for modern man, with his technologically interpretative approach, this process of scientific verification of the ancient knowledge is absolutely necessary for him to be able to accept it. From this position of acceptance he can then begin to realize his full potential - released from suffering through the understanding and control of body and mind.