This blog is all about handling the human mind that is a very complex task. In whatever situation, the one who has better control over his mind doesn’t become a victim of situations. Here i have gathered the knowledge gained from listening to the lectures of various spiritual gurus on the topic of mind management, who in-turn have been inspired from the ancient vedic scriptures that are the mines of great strength.
Basics of Human Mind
Mind is the primary instrument of perception that makes us experience life. In Indian philosophy it is given great importance. Modern research has shown that human brain is neuro-plastic in nature or in other words it can be rewired. Through our thoughts we can rewire neural pathways in the brain. Thus the link with our body can be established through the mind.
In this modern era, information/knowledge is available everywhere but human mind being in a compulsive mode is pulled more towards pleasurable external factors/gadgets. This may be one of the primary reasons behind the occurrence of boredom, frustration and depression in the current generation. This can be directly linked to the lack of knowledge in mind management or handling our minds. Indian Philosophy says that if we track the source of the mind we can learn to control it. If we learn to control the mind we can be in control of our lives.
Thoughts in the mind are determined by the information input through the senses. To be conscious is to be aware of something. One’s conscious experience of an object is the object one experiences. In order to better understand the functioning of the mind, the functional classification of the mind needs to be understood. The yogic science details on this as follows ;
- Manas – It is the intuitive or the lower aspect of mind that interacts with external world and takes in sensory impressions and data. Manas checks on the pros and cons that can cause great difficulties if this tendency becomes excessive. A good way to cultivate the witnessing of Manas is to be mindful of the actions and senses.
- Buddhi – It is the determinative or the higher aspect of mind. Buddhi has the capacity to decide, judge, and make cognitive discrimination and differentiation.
- Ahankar/Self Identity – It is the shadow of the real self. What you consider yourself to be, the whole mind will be functioning according to that. In a still mind, the sense of identity is nothing but pure awareness. However, in an agitated mind, tendency of the mind is to associate with some or the other thought. One great way to achieve the sense of inner stillness is through the practice of meditation. Properly harnessed, meditation reins in your racing thoughts and channels your brain waves into a calmed, harmonious state.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the topic of discussion in today’s world. The buddhi or IQ should be tempered by the EQ so that the determinative capacity is enhanced otherwise there will be an imbalance or lopsided development in IQ. Academic institutions provide training to enhance IQ but there is no emphasis on EQ. The need of the hour is to hone the EQ, that will in-turn enhance the IQ aspect too. Dedicating some time towards prayer, study of cultural values, things that give a higher experience of life will help to enhance the emotional aspect. Mind is a set of variables that can be changed according to your understanding or maturity. Knowing the self/one’s identity can only happen by understanding the basic aspects of the mind or the science of consciousness.
Next lets move on to the structural classification of the mind or how is the mind structured to function. Here the mind is classified into the conscious, subconscious and the unconscious part. Numerous neuroscientists have conducted studies that have revealed that only 5% of our cognitive activities (decisions, emotions, actions, behavior) is conscious whereas the remaining 95% is generated in a non-conscious manner.
Conscious mind is the intelligent mind that is a small strip of one’s personality. A large subconscious part is also present, that is a repository of mental impressions, tendencies, habits that is an essential part of the mind. What you consciously think for a long time, can go into subconscious and lodge itself. The same thoughts can reappear after sometime from the subconscious to the conscious plane as memories. There is also an unconscious part that is not know much about. The more you make your mind conscious the more you will come to know about the subconscious and unconscious part. If energy is struck up in the subconscious and unconscious, you don’t know what is going on as some emotion or tendency is overpowering you. Yoga in the original sense is a science of consciousness, showing how to develop a higher awareness.
Effect of Consciousness on Mind
Our life is meant for great things, let us not waste it on small things like lust, anger, greed and other toxic thoughts that are the reasons for negativity. I or the atman is separate from the body and mind. This thinking based on the upanishads part of the vedas, gives us great strength to handle mind and body positively. Mind management will become easy if we stand apart from the faculties of emotions of the mind. The real nature of man is consciousness functioning through the body and mind complex. This understanding gives us strength or clarity to handle anxiety, anger and other emotions by allowing us to stand apart from them and respond proactively. Awareness of the mind can be enhanced if the mind is more aware than identified with the thoughts bringing about better mind control.
Relationships are based on values and forms a part of emotional intelligence. Relationships without commitment will jeopardize your minds. Relationships are all about sharing something with others and if you don’t have anything of value to contribute it will not survive either in professional or personal life. However, it is important to note that relationships are not about barter but based on pure commitments. One cannot be a giver until he/she is not developed from within. This is where yoga comes into picture that will help an individual to flourish in confidence, bliss, joy etc so that in a relationship one has something effective to contribute. As per Buddha’s saying, if your purpose is to extract joy from others it will not work, but if your purpose is to share your joy with others it will work like magic. Hence, your thoughts, emotions, will, awareness, love should be at the peak for a mature relationship.
What we take in through the senses becomes the content of the mind. What you repeat in your mind becomes your memory ,i.e, the subconscious. This memory keeps popping up time and again that may be past fear and anxieties as well. The way to cultivate good thoughts, good memories and remove negativity is to expose ourselves consciously to good stuff that will help us grow. Through the practice of yoga, still the mind periodically so that one can objectify the thoughts that will avoid self-alienation/autopilot mode of mind. This will result in the content of the mind and mainly the memory getting inscribed with good stuff that will result in happiness.
As per vedanta, one of the vedic scriptures tells us that I, the awareness is self ,i.e, the subject aware of the body and mind as objects. Knowing the self is the first step in knowing others. One more way to know more about consciousness is through the three states everyone passes through every day. The states are, waking, dreaming and deep sleep state. If senses and mind are active then the person is in waking state. However, if the senses are inactive and the mind is active then the person is in dreaming state. Finally, in the deep sleep state both the senses and mind are inactive. In all the states the unchanging state is I ,i.e, the consciousness which is aware of the state of mind. Hence awareness is the primary thing about us that is much higher than mind. This is constantly mentioned in the upanishads. One more notable thing mentioned in one of the upanishads is regarding decision making, a conscious person is one who is able to segregate the good/ shreyas from the pleasant/ preyas.
Focus the Mind through Goal Orientation
Experience of fulfillment, satisfaction, happiness is not dependent on external factors but on the state of one’s mind. However, knowledge of both the phenomenal material world outside and the world within are required for one’s growth.
Since this blog is about mind control we will be looking into the inner technology aspect. Mind is the one that is constantly generating thoughts and creating desires, whereas the intellect is the faculty of discrimination. It is difficult to focus our minds on a single task as it keeps wandering, but if the intellect decides that a particular task is too critical to be neglected, automatically the mind comes into focus. Here the main thing to note is the power of intellect over the mind that is not being utilized properly. In-order to utilize the power of intellect, we need to have proper knowledge and implementation of the same. This knowledge will be particularly helpful in today’s world where ADHD, the attention deficit disorder is common among the youth.
Our minds keep generating desires that may be either beneficial or detrimental to us. As per vedic scriptures, the ancient texts for inner technology, there are basically three types of desires based on material energy, namely : mode of goodness, mode of passion and mode of ignorance. When the mode of ignorance dominates a person’s personality, that person experiences the desire for violence, anger, jealousy, laziness, sleep etc. When the mode of passion is dominant in a person’s personality, it leads a person to intense desires for the objects of the senses, intense ambition for worldly enhancement, attainment of worldly objects to name a few. However, when the mode of goodness is predominant, it leads to peace of mind, desire to cultivate knowledge, desire for compassion and service.
The desires can either be fulfilled or not. In case the desires are not fulfilled it leads to anger. However, if the desires are fulfilled it will be extinguished for sometime, but will lead to greed or increased desires in the future. Since desire is the root cause of anger and greed, it is good to know the reason behind desire which is mainly attachment. Going one more step backward will tell us that contemplating happiness is the root cause of attachment. Here, vedas tell us that it is the very human nature to contemplate or seek happiness. However, to desire is not wrong but to desire the right thing is the stepping stone towards success. So, in order to succeed decide, focus and channelize what you wish to become and then contemplate sufficiently over it that will develop intense desire. This is same as saying, have great ideals or goals in life, so that mind is concentrated and works towards that goal. As per Swami Vivekananda’s saying, a man with ideal commits a few mistakes but the one without any ideal will commit a thousand mistakes.
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Lectures of spiritual gurus like Swami Mukundananda, Swamini Pravrajika