HOW TO CULTIVATE PRESENCE OF MIND
Negation of absent mindedness is presence of mind. In order to avoid accidents, it is necessary to cultivate presence of mind. Accidents cannot be escaped easily. So, while driving a vehicle, presence of mind is needed. It means that a person should have a cool mind even in emergency. He should not lose his balance of mind. It is just equal to not losing one’s head. In order to have presence of mind, reasoning should be imbibed. This quality can be had only if one has a strong control over one’s nerves. The mind under these circumstances will direct his actions and he will shun doing anything wrong. It is the lack of presence of mind that a person is unable to overcome fear, anxiety or excitement. As a result of absent mindedness, persons do and say silly things in their fright and haste.
In answer to the question “What is better than presence of mind in an accident?” a wag said, Absence of body.” This is certainly true; but as we cannot always escape accidents so easily, it is well to have, or to cultivate, what is called presence of mind.
“Presence of mind” means keeping cool and collected in an emergency of any kind. It is not the opposite of absent-mindedness, but of “losing one’s head”. The words mind and head in these phrases mean reason; and so one who has presence of mind in danger is one who has such control over his nerves, that his reason is not upset, but still directs his actions.
It is generally some sudden danger or threat of danger that causes people to lose their heads. An officer may lose his head in a sudden attack; if so, he is not fit for his post. A driver may lose his head in the traffic of a crowded street and cause a serious accident.
A business man may lose his head in a commercial panic, and rashly buy or sell shares to his loss or ruin. A mother may lose her head when an accident happens to her child and sit down and scream, and lose her little one. But in all these cases, people who keep cool and have presence of mind, may avert the danger and save the situation.
Presence of mind is, to some extent, a gift; that is, some people have it naturally. Such people are very fortunate. For their presence of mind in an emergency may save them from taking a false step which might mean ruin to them or others. But all are not so fortunate.
It is generally some sudden danger or threat of danger that causes people to lose their heads. In whatever walk of life a person is he must have presence of mind. An officer is fit for his chair only if he does not lose his head in the face of serious problems. A driver while driving a vehicle in crowded streets can cause accident if he loses his presence of mind. Similarly, a businessman can suffer heavy losses if he is not able to cope with the trend of the market. Presence of mind is a natural gift. People are fortunate who have been blessed with this boon. This quality in them may save them from taking a wrong step which might mean ruin to them and others. Some people who are not having this gift can cultivate it. The main thing needed is controlling emotions constantly. We must deliberately check and restrain ourselves from being carried away by our feelings. In case of danger, anxiety, excessive gift or excessive joy, it is only a check on our inner urge that can save us from being involved in a risk.
A doctor treating a patient, a mechanic handling a machine and an electrician making electrical connections can cause a great deal of damage if they lose their presence of mind. These persons must remain cool and calm while doing their work, otherwise wreaks will result. A candidate appearing at an examination can mar his career if he loses presence of mind. A mathematician will do wrong solutions of the problems when he is absent minded. In order to avert dangers at critical junctures, it is the presence of mind that is helpful to a person.
The great thing is constantly to practice controlling the emotions. We must deliberately check and restrain ourselves from being carried away by our feelings such as anger, fear, anxiety, excessive grief or excessive joy. We must keep a tight rein on those fiery steeds, the passions. If we thus develop a habit of self-restraint, we shall all be better able to keep cool and calm in the face of danger.
With regular practice, you are likely to notice yourself becoming increasingly present, both in your own company and in the company of others. Being fully present in the context of a relationship is a particularly beneficial state that will nourish the relationship for you and whomever you are with.
To control emotions, self-control should be developed. In order to have self-control, one must know oneself. It means the nature of a person must be thoroughly studied by himself before he starts controlling his inner feelings. He must realize under what conditions he loses his temper and is swayed away by his feelings. Understanding self will help the individual to devise means to control his emotions and thus not to lose his presence of mind. He can easily do so by avoiding as far as possible such conditions as make him absent minded. It may not be possible to avoid such situations easily because there can be hours when an individual is enveloped by grim situations. At these moments, exercise of will power, a resultant of presence of mind, should be displayed to overcome these situations.
It is, however, possible for nervous and excitable people to cultivate presence of mind. The great thing is constantly to practice controlling emotions. We must deliberately check and restrain ourselves from being carried away by our feelings such as anger, fear, anxiety, excessive grief or excessive joy.
We must keep a tight rein on those fiery steeds, the passions. If we thus develop a habit of self-restraint, we shall all be able to keep ourselves cool and calm in the face of danger.
To conclude, we must say that under all emergencies, it is the quality of presence of mind that helps man come out of these odds with a flying colour.