People keep asking me how do I take care of my patients with psychological disorders or simply toxic personalities. I am a science man but I have a not- so -scientific method. I actually pick and choose a few patients and I live with them. Our big house is called a retreat house. It is a kind of a laboratory and every encounter is an experiment. These experiments are a little strange. We work in an uncontrolled environment with partial knowledge with insufficient data. But we have a standard protocol and a discipline. The patient is called a student and the therapist is a teacher. (Or the seeker and the Guru). If you like the student comes with the hope of finding something definite or formidable to depend up on and be cured. He comes with a barrage of doubts and questions and is very eager to find answers to them. But the fact is the student is at war with himself. It is a war against his own nature. He has two minds. One mind is intelligent logical and just theoretical. The other mind is rebellious selfish unruly and unkind. It is even beastly and savage at times. It is not restricted by any reason and not guided by any purpose.
So, this the struggle. The Intelligent mind tries to control the unruly mind. And the rogue mind refuses. It is almost an impossible task. Therefore, the student is overwhelmed by his own problems and has no time for others as well as new lessons. The teacher’s task is to just watch. He is an observer and also a catalyst. The teacher has no power to start off a new reaction or bring about a CURE to the sickness of the student. The irony is that the student does not know this. The teacher knows that the ‘getting well’ is an inherent ability of the student himself if only he takes responsibility for this. Here comes the value of ‘self-examination’ and a scrutiny of his own behavior in various situations and his attitude towards the world and other people. Here in the retreat through several interactions with the teacher the student comes to see that there is a simple solution to end this war of minds. It is just accepting that the brutal mind is also an in-separable part of himself. He has to look observe and find it out. Working on this idea of self- examination eventually the student gets to know of his ‘modus operandi’… He has a special characteristic way of dealing with situations doing things getting what he wants and feel ok for the moment.
This keeps recurring with every new encounter and every new situation. He uses the same tools and gets the same result. In every episode the story remains the same only the actors and locations change. It is as though there is a default script for these enactments in the deep mind which is not easily seen. And the drama goes on only according to that script. The student is hapless acter enacting the same type cast role. As he continues with his search eventually, he understands his own hidden motives his wrong world views his fears and cowardice. It is finding out who he is. He might be co-housing a wolf or a ghost and waging a failing battle against it. But today as he has learned to be watchful of all his micro movements of the body and the mind, he will not get into the old traps of his lusty animal mind. It is learning to become more and more conscious of the importance of the ‘the day to day’ life. It is living with his sangha his new found support group who are all working to improve themselves… So, it is not a battle or a cold war between the two minds. It is showing sympathy for one’s own reality of making a personality.
Therefore, it is the outcome of a hard work for a length of time. It is not an intellectual analysis. It demands a commitment a responsibility and willingness to suffer on the part of the student. It is a natural part of life. And the teacher is always with him as a co traveler sharing and assuring. They both develop courage to open up their heart to each other. The teacher is whole heartedly willing to be sus centibel before his student so that the student feels at home and develops faith. This is a discipline from one angle and love from another angle. So nice of the teacher his love for the student cures the ailments.