Master your mind

Yoga philosophy talks about five domains of human personality – physical (annamaya kosha), vital (pranayama kosha), mental (manomaya kosha), intellectual (jnanamaya kosha) and spiritual (anandamaya kosha).

The physical, vital and mental domains are quite well-developed in all plants and animals. While the mind is the highest state of evolution in lower beings, mental domain/mind reaches its greatest state of evolution in humans. Mastering the mind is the first step to awaken our higher potential in the intellectual domain and truly rise above other animals and plants.

Rare are those who have tapped into this potential and left a mark in this world. Sage Veda Vyasa, Sukabrahma, Adisankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya, Buddha, Jesus, Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo, etc., are some of the names we can remember who have tapped into the subtle aspect of the intellect and spread awareness in spiritual and philosophical domains to various extents as relevant to the times they dwelled on this earth. King Janaka, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Gandhi, etc., tapped into their higher potentials for the welfare and development of society through the political and economic fields. Bhaskaracharya, Aryabhatta, Edison, Ramajuna, Sushrutha and the likes have deeply studied, understood the material world and evolved as exemplary scientists by tapping into their higher potentials.

Average man is distracted by various aspects of the mental domain – senses, emotions, feelings, ego, etc.  thereby tapping only to a negligible extent, the creative and intuitive faculties of the higher intellect. Irrespective of the field one chooses excellence can be achieved by mastering various aspects of mind. Ancient Indians have achieved excellence in all spheres of life – economics, science, politics, astrology, medicine, mathematics, religion, spiritual, etc. by mastering their mind apart from their physical and vital domains.

To master the mind we need to understand the four basic aspects of the mind – Chitta (memory), Manas (aspect of feeling and emotions), Buddhi (aspect of gross and worldly intelligence) and Ahankara (self-image).  Various tools and methods have been prescribed by those who have tread this path to master the mind.  All of them proclaim that prerequisite for mastering the mind is to have a healthy physical body and high levels of pranic energy.

Life according to ancient Indian philosophy and yogic science does not start with birth nor does it end with death.  Life is a continuum. As the experiences and memories of childhood will affect the behaviour and personality in youth and older ages, the impressions from memories of the previous births will also have effect in the current life and affect our personality.  The modern psychology has also come to realise this fact – techniques like hypnosis and past life regression are scientific proofs to testify to the modern intellectual minds about this age-old wisdom. Albert Weismann refers various case studies of his clients where past life regression helped as a therapeutic tool in his famous book “Many masters many lives”.

Human memory is thus a store house of sensory impressions, emotional impressions and intellectual impressions one has accumulated over many lives.  Different components of memory are tapped into in different states of mind – wakeful state (conscious mind), dream state (subconscious mind), deep sleep state (unconscious mind) and turiya state (super conscious mind).  While these past impressions determine one’s current personality, expression of human WILL provides the ability to work on the impressions in the four states of memory and evolve above them.

This introduction to understand human personality is not to overwhelm the reader with the enormity of the task ahead, but to understand, what we are now is a result of the choices we have made over many lives. In the same way our current choices and expression of WILL in an intelligent way decides our future.

This is also to understand that change does not happen overnight.  It is a long run process. Obstacles in various forms do come and distract us.  Many a times we seem like failing. It is through perseverance, by standing up each time one fails, will we overcome these challenges and master the mind. As it is said, “it does not matter how many times we fall down as long as we have the perseverance to rise up again”.  It is with this basic understanding and attitude should one approach to master the mind.

From known to unknown is the path towards knowledge – be it scientific discoveries or spiritual or philosophical growth or with mastering the mind. Initially we need to deal with the wakeful state, develop awareness and learn to manage various manifestations of the mind – sensory perceptions, memory, emotions, feelings, self-image, etc. in this state.  Purification to an extent, in this state makes one fit to work on other states.

It is pertinent to note that most of the personality development programs start and end in the conscious state.  Rare are the programs which even deal this state in a holistic manner.  This explains the abysmally low rate of success of the so-called personality development programs.  As the awareness and understanding develops in the conscious state we need to start working on the sub-conscious and unconscious states of mind. These states in fact, influence most of our decision-making process and actions.  Here are a few eg:

  1. The conscious mind, the awaken state is aware that eating right is good for health.  But our action directed by our sub-conscious or unconscious mind does not help in implementing the same.
  2. We are aware that getting up 15 minutes early in the morning helps us accomplish more things.  However, we snooze the alarm every morning.
  3. Regular exercises keep us fit.  But we fail to prioritize the same into our schedule.
  4. We walk out of a two-day personality development program with lot of enthusiasm and vigour to work on the new resolutions. But the same fizzles out soon, causing little change in us.

The lacuna is not in the efficacy of the program or understanding of the values, but the lack of energies – the energy of will, the energy of knowledge and energy of action in the participant.

Empowered with the above energies, one can gain a deeper understanding of all the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and manage them effectively.

We shall discuss in greater detail about the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and tools to manage specific areas like emotions, stress and thought in our future posts.

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  1. Being Humane – Man is not an emotional being | Ankur Learning Solutions
  2. Nurturing appropriate Self-Image | Ankur Learning Solutions

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