The Zunray Spark October 2017

monk

Namaste yogins,

If I ask a random person “Where is the mind?” the most common reaction is to point towards the head because the logic association is to think that the mind and the brain are the same thing, when it is not that way. The brain is the nervous system commander. The nervous system extends itself throughout the whole body and, in its totality, serves as the bridge between the physical body and the mind. The body is easy to identify because we can see it and touch it, but the mind does not exist in specific space-time coordinates.

The dictionary defines the mind as the combination of cognitive functions, included the sensory perceptions, thinking, emotions, awareness or the memory. Even though we differentiate among those functions, the body and the mind can´t be separated from one another because what happens in the body, happens in the mind, the one is within the other and they are completely interdependent on each other.

The second verse in the Yoga Sutra talks about the mind and tells us that yoga is the process of stopping our mind from turning around as a whirlwind or stopping our mind from turning things around creating a making a distorted vision of our lives. Yoga allows us to see reality the way it is. Remember this idea because it is the foundation of every yogic path!

This same text explains that the mind has four basic aspects or components, linked to one another even though we separate them in order to understand how they work:

Manas – the part in charge of processing sensory experiences, that is, everything that we perceive through the sense organs. Manas organizes it, classifies and structures all of that within the frame of the mind. Emotions, feelings or ideas about life are created from what we perceive through the five senses.

Buddhi – the intellect, the part of the mind that discerns, judges and discriminates. It allows us to differentiate between what is harmonious and what is not, what makes sense and what doesn´t. Basically, we classify reality in two categories: what we like and what we don´t like, “sukha” and “sukha” in Sanskrit.

Ahankara – the “I maker” or what we understand as the ego. The individual personality that we think of as who we are.

Chitta – the totality of the mind, including all memories, desires, thoughts, emotions and experienced feelings. It encompasses the conscious mind, the subconscious, the collective mind and the supra-conscious mind that is above any memory or thought.

This month, I invite you to reflect on how your mind functions, especially during your practice.

See you on the mat,
Om Shanti

Zaira