There is an old adage in one of the South Indian languages - "Manasondu markata" - meaning mind is a monkey. I'll try to explain.
Every morning I promptly sit on my PC just before the stock market opens. I have on-line marketing service. Sometimes I play, sometimes buy or sell securities and some other times simply observe without taking part. Apart from passing my time after retirement from my business, I tend to deeply observe my own mind, its behavior, its thinking patterns, whenever I do whatsoever. I keenly watch a particular stock about which I have made adequate homework and decided to buy. The stock price is steadily coming down, of course with some ups in between, and just when I think it is the right time and price to buy, it rises a bit sharply. Miffed though, I tell myself, OK it'll comedown and immediately go to the other window in which global market movements are shown. Lo! European markets have rapidly turned into green from red. Come back to my online window, God, it has already shot up sharply, no question of buying now. I missed the bus! I lament, there is no chance of buying anything today, market has shot up and may fall anytime! Reason? - as always some good news of a concerned Govt. trying to lift its failing bankers with a package!
Most of the times stock markets all over world are highly sensitive to rumors and hype equally with real things that should effect the markets. Many of you might have had this experience similar to that of mine. The lost opportunities and lamenting over it!
It is not the intention to discuss markets here but I am only trying to give it as an example to demonstrate how loose, shaky and unstable the mind is. It is not only with money, matter and the markets, but with each and everything we value. Long back when I was still in college and was offered a short service commission in Indian Army, I scuttled it, of course, for valid reasons. Later I lamented. Again I was offered with that and this which, every time for good reasons I scuttled and later lamented. I even go into deep depressions thinking of so called great opportunities I missed in life. I have a serious problem, isn't it? And many of you too might.
Let me try to analyse my problems; it may help me.
The first and foremost thing I have to remember each time when I think of the past, is that it is a scientifically proved fact that the mind not only distorts memories over time but also creates an entirely new memory of which there was no event at all in the past! Unless I keep this fact firmly in my mind I am not going anywhere near to solve my problems.
OK, now why did I miss the bus? What were the valid reasons? Let me not try to give any example now. For, a real thing of the mind, there is nothing similar. So whatever example I try to equate with the behavior of the mind will only confuse. If there was a valid reason for the opportunity I missed, well it was in a good state of mind I rejected what was offered to me, in preference to what I continued with or opted for. If that is so...well, it was so! What does that mean now? There was no opportunity to miss at all in the past when the circumstances and accepted values were far different from what they are today. No question of missing anything in the past, right?
I don't know if you are getting at what I am trying to put out. A state of mind is eventual, temporary, solely dependent on a set of believed values in that precise moment. No state of mind is stable and permanent because every believed value takes its shape in accordance with the prevailing circumstance. It is ever changing with changing circumstances. That makes a thing of the past purely illusory. I hope I am getting at the core of my life, which is not in the past, not since when I was born, not to whom I was born; it is now.
If this everlasting fact of life is understood, I am sure, I can stand alone, away from my mind, see it clearly, analyse it and perhaps stop it permanently from interfering with the happiness of living. Got it? Can you see the monkey?