Hey there! This is Week 48 of my blog series where I keep myself accountable by keeping an online journal of sorts. You can read the beginning of this story — Why I quit my job to study, volunteer and travel.
When I picked up a book by the same name, I thought that the book would be about staying true to ourselves and our values etc in a world that is so hell bent on telling us what to do, eat, listen and control every aspect of life.
But to my surprise, the book was about the mechanics of an impregnable fort as taught by Buddha.
In this article I will attempt to draw insights from his teachings and apply the same us. People who’s minds are being invaded from various directions.
Buddha’s teaching about the fort(ress) consisted of the following —
- Indakhila (Pillar) — Strong pillar at the entrance of a fort, one that cannot be uprooted by any elephants. As per tradition, if the invaders were unable to uproot this pillar they would get demoralized and abandon the attack. It’s purpose was to test the enemy’s strength.
- Parikha (Moat) — Wide and deep moat around the fortress, filled with water and deadly animals to deter the invaders from swimming through or getting in weapons to attack the fort.
- Anupariyayapatho (Flat Land) — A wide and high flat land between the moat and the rampart of the fortress to act as a platform from which to attack enemies rash enough to swim through the moat in an attempt to reach the fortress.
- Bahum avudham sannicitam (Armoury) — Adequate supply of weapons, arms and ammunition in a well stocked armoury.
- Bahubalakayo Pativasati (Four-fold army and daredevil soldiers, commandos.) — This is critical for the security of the citadel.
- Servants and attendants to ensure the army is well maintained.
- Standard Bearers, warriors and junior officers to lead the army.
- Courageous Archers
- Medical Corps to rescue and take care of the wounded
- Commandos — Elite Lion-hearted soldiers
- Dovariko (Courageous gatekeepers) — Gates are to be guarded by wise, experienced and brave sentinals to ensure that they are not influenced by bribes or threats.
- Pakaro (Rampart) — High and thick wall surrounding the fortress. The top of the wall should contain a parapet from which the defending soldiers can attack while remaining hidden from the enemy.
As you read, you may be tempted to think, what this article is about.
Let me tell you, it is about defending your mind from an invasion of crap from the TV, Radio, Internet and the world. It is a way for us to fortify our mind the same way that Buddha recommended safeguarding our fortress.
It is often said that we are what we eat. Similarly, the same applies to our mind. It becomes what we feed it. (If you are reading this, I am sure you are doing OK, but there is always scope for progress right?)
Here is what can be done to fortify our mind —
- Indakhila (Pillar) — Our pillars are our values and principles. If you do not know what your values or principles are, then please check out the below link. Trust me, this is one of the best sites on the internet.
The same way an enemy comes to shake down the pillar in front of a fortress, the world is out to change the way we eat, drink and behave. We will only give it to their persuasion if our pillars are not laid out well enough. But the moment that we have our values / principles sorted, then just like the attackers, others will eventually tire and leave us alone.
Having values / principles do not hold you down or make you inflexible. They provide a framework of things that you do or no do. They also help to free up immense amount of mental decision making as everything is now not a complex decision. It is as simple as — Does this form a part of my values or principles. Yes or No. Proceed accordingly.
“Principles are concepts that can be applied over and over again in similar circumstances as distinct from narrow answers to specific questions. Every game has principles that successful players master to achieve winning results. So does life. Principles are ways of successfully dealing with the laws of nature or the laws of life.”~Ray Dalio
- Parikha (Moat) — Our mental moat is the people that we surround ourselves with. Without a strong moat, there isn’t a strong fortress. Our ideas, thoughts and beliefs are percolated through the people we surround ourselves with. The choice is ours. Whether we have a weak moat (yes men, or people who are trying to impress us or are push-overs) or a strong one that makes sure that we strive to get better just by our association with them.
- Anupariyaypatho(Flat Land) — This wide and flat land is our perspective. The way we see, understand and internalize the world that we live and also ourselves. Our model of the world determines how we are a part of it and also makes us think what role we can play in making the world a better place(selfless) or how we can manipulate it to thrive (selfish). It is important to remember to be able to look far into the future and not have a narrow perspective.
- Bahum Avudham Sannicitam (Armoury) — While this is described as the store house of weapons, in my head this is actually a store house of good emotions. As we need to constantly keep reminding ourselves that there are two sides to every situation and try to move towards the light, no matter how enveloped in darkness we are. We can do this by recounting a happy memory every time we are encountered with a sad / bad one. By responding with our positive voice each time we hear a negative one. For this we need to have an armoury of good feelings, emotions and most importantly OPTIMISM!
- Bahubalakayo Pativasati (Four-fold army and daredevil soldiers — commandos)– This refers to how we internalize an issue a problem or even success for that matter. Now the enemy has reached the gates and is now proliferating into the fortress. If we do not have a system to handle these emotions, it very easy to get carried away.
I feel that success and failure are both sides of the same coin. We need to not only survive by thrive through these events in order to have a balanced life.
The four-fold army is the strength inside. It needs a lot of discipline, training and support. (just like the army needs a vast support system). A system or a routine needs to be developed in order to develop this strength so that we can throw out the enemy.
Doing small things that challenge us on a regular basis, meditation, work outs, pushing our selves at work. These are all small ways to feed the army inside our head and to make it stronger. To prepare it for the impending war. If they are never trained, it will never be able to handle life’s vicissitudes. Self imposed disruption is better than disruption that is thrown at us by life.
So prepare and develop that army. Develop that courage, stregth and will.
- Dovariko(Courageous gatekeepers)
- Pakaro (Rampart)
Gatekeepers and high thick walls are important are important because we think what we feed our mind. Our thoughts later manifest themselves in the universe. So whether we think positive or negative, the universe will have a way to bring them to life. So we need to be very careful about where we spend our brain-power on. For each and every wish that we want to come true, there is a higher power that is conspiring to make it happen.
Don’t believe me? Just have faith. There is not much more than that I can say in order to convince you. But here is the thing, there is a lot of shit, crap and non-sense that is out there in the world. Search, seek and find only those things that find and add meaning to your life. Destroy the rest, you deserve better. You know I am right. Unfriend, unlike and unfollow that piece of shit that keeps appearing in your newsfeed.
Strive towards a better day tomorrow, filled with more positivity and optimism.
Keep those walls up and make only the most important things enter.
How do we decide what is important and what is not? Try and answer a few important questions about that content you are consuming and the ideas that you discuss.
- Will it help make your life or someone else’s life significantly better?
- Will you be able to make a difference to whatever is being discussed?
- Are just doing this or watching this to pass time? (do you have that much free time in the first place?If you do and it is purely for entertainment then do not let me stop you. I watch a tonne of TV Shows and am personally a big fan)
- Are you just gossiping because you are harboring some negative feelings about someone?
- Is this a business initiative that you can be a part of?
- If you are being convinced to do something always try to see if the person who is trying to convince you of the said thing has something to gain out of your accepting the behavior or action. (Short version, look for conflicts of interest and always look out for yourself)
Your answers will determine your way forward.
Go ahead, contrary to popular belief, get your friggin walls up. Winter is coming.
Here is what all I did this week —
- Continued my Vipassana practice of 2 hours a day.
- Finished week 2 of my 2 week stint at work (Hyderabad). I like where this is headed :) — My gap year is officially over with me start working. 🙂
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Follow me on this journey on self discovery and know what happens!
Thanks again to all you wonderful people for the love and support.
If you want to say hey, give me feedback or reach out to me for anything, I would love to connect with you — [email protected]
Peace and Love. xx
Originally published at medium.com