On long, taxing cycling expeditions there are lonely stretches with just you, the cycle and the road. At such times, the journey into the inner recesses of your mind comes to the fore. These periods of relentless effort in solitude are pristine. You face the multitude of fears that torment you and in mysterious ways you find the wisdom to cope with them and even set them aside. From such encounters you harness your mind to help you and not deceive you.
Our sages teach us that fame and momentary glories are only illusions. Genuine happiness lies in cultivating a mind that is not swayed by external circumstances. The sages advice a few prerequisites for building an invincible mind. One is the courage of conviction. Another is to have self-belief. Yet another is to live life just as we are with no pretensions. Making a habit of reflection and introspection helps build these prerequisites.
There are little tricks that train you to keep your mind in check. One of them is making it a habit to decide what you wish to do every morning and do every one of them. In the unlikely event of a spill over, do it the very next day. Savour the joy and accomplishment of doing what you set out too. You cultivate unshakeable resolve in this way.
Preparing for a sporting event or following a fitness routine is a good training ground for controlling the mind. Never fall short of what you set out to do in each session. The mind has insidious ways of taking hold of your life. It offers several perfectly logical reasons to interfere with your training routines and preparation. Over time you develop not just your fitness but also a mind that works for you.
At the Desert 500 ultra-cycling event in 2016 I was unsure if I should take part in the 250 kilometres ride or the less taxing 150 kilometre ride. Well-meaning friends suggested that I opt for the less taxing ride considering my age and fitness level. I kept wavering between the challenge of 250 or the safer 150 kilometres. My mind deliberately kept me in this quandary till I firmly resolved on the bigger challenge. Gurus call this the power of positive intention.
On event day I set out to complete 250 kms come what may. You are asking for trouble if you waver in intent. Our fears and self-doubts limit us.
My mind continued to torment me with various reasons to stop ahead of 250 kilometres, I just brushed these distractions aside. At the finish I was in pain and exhausted, but I savoured the joy of accomplishment for a long time.
Through similar challenging events, I developed a mind that assisted me in challenging times rather than play tricks with me and dominate me.
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