Cancer of the mind

Last year cancer claimed 7.6 million lives, and now accounts for 13% of all deaths worldwide. The Bhagavad-gita explains that we may be suffering from another type of cancer. It’s a type of cancer that cannot be detected through medical tests, and cannot be treated by conventional means. It’s called the cancer of the mind. The symptoms of this cancer are three in particular – Criticism, Complaining and Competition. While we still have these tendencies etched into our psyche we cannot claim to be in a 100% healthy state of existence.

To criticise and find faults in others is surprisingly easy. We often feel some emotional gratification in doing it – maybe it helps us feel better about ourselves. We sometimes cover up our own inadequacies and shortcomings by complaining about the situations and people around us. Instead of taking responsibility for our own lives we blame the world around us. And fuelling all of this is a deep rooted spirit of competition… to be better than those around me. We don’t just want to be good, but actually we want to be the best.

While plagued by this cancer of the mind, we can never feel the happiness and peacefulness we so eagerly seek. In the process of criticising others, we remain completely oblivious to any kind of self evaluation. To reverse this tendency and find the rough edges in our own character may actually help us improve. Instead of complaining about the world around us, we can develop an attitude of gratitude – appreciating all the wonderful opportunities we have been awarded in this life. Tempting as it is to compete with others, maybe we can focus of competing with our own unsteady mind to defeat out ‘lower nature’ and make progressive decisions in our life.

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