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Enhancement Of Mental Life

Just as we need physical rest and sleep, we need mental rest, recreation and relaxation for the enhancement of mental life. Unfortunately in modern times, which indicate the future state of affairs, many people are not able to relax or get over their worries and anxieties. So they resort to sleeping pills and alcohol which make matters worse. Music has great recreational and relaxing value. Devotional music is elevating too. Rhythmic chanting of a mantra has a similar effect.

A major cause of mental ill-health is our faulty reaction to persons in situations which are often tarnished with envy, anger, jealousy, or hatred. This must be avoided by cultivating a feeling of friendship towards the happy and prosperous, compassion towards those who suffer, positive joy towards the virtuous, and indifference towards the wicked. This fourfold mental attitude is called chatur-bhavana and conduces to the enhancement of the social dimension of life. Service and charity are two other means.

No life enhancement can be complete without the enhancement of its social dimension. It is true that individual life enhancement can and does contribute in a general way to social enhancement, but it is also equally true that social enhancement adds to individual enhancement.

There are various techniques of social enhancement. One may pray for the well-being of all, or one may individually or collectively help others. Swami Vivekananda has advised us to serve others regarding them as God. And it is equally important to practise the basic moral values of not injuring anyone, not cheating others, not speaking untruth, not stealing, and not hoarding.

The fact remains that not many have ever been seriously interested in spiritual life enhancement. This will be the case in the future as well even if it were known and demonstrated that spiritual enhancement is infinitely more beneficial than physical or intellectual enhancement.

Excerpts from article titled ‘Life Enhancement’ by Swami Brahmeshananda in Prabuddha Bharata Magazine April 2006 issue.