“We can live freely within the essence of nature
Or stay in the confines of individual consciousness.
Our mind is modified by right and wrong knowledge,
Fancy, sleep, and memory.
Neither right nor wrong knowledge brings wisdom.
Fancy is not based on reality.
Sleep fails to release awareness.
Memory clings, giving no freedom.
Some of these things are painful,
Some are not painful
But burn them all together and find peace.” Swami Satyananda Saraswati
How can we control the mind?
The mind is compared to a monkey. Once upon a time, there was a monkey, and he was as restless as all his clan. He could not sit still. A playful and stupid man gave the monkey some wine to drink. The monkey got drunk, and he became even more excitable. He stepped on a scorpion, which stung him. The poor monkey did not know what had happened to him. Next a horrid demon entered him. Now the monkey was hysterical. He was confused and befuddled. Our mind is like that. It is constantly active; it is consumed with the wine of desire and jealousy. Then the demon of pride, possessiveness and avarice enters the mind. This is a famous quote from Swami Vivekananda.
Our mind is like a rain forest, there are weeds, plants and trees all fighting for light. The mind keeps changing and this fluctuation is called “vrittis” as described by Patanjali.
Patanjali’s definition of Yoga is Yogash-chitta-vrittis-nirodhah or the ability to calm the fluctuations of the mind is defined as Yoga. The five vrittis are mental modifications. They are right knowledge, misconception, verbal, delusion, sleep, and memory. These vrittis can be either painful or painless.
How do we harmonize the vrittis?
Our first sadhana is to develop awareness. We close our eyes and watch our breath going in and out of our nostrils. We are watching our normal spontaneous breath. No effort on our part. We then count our breath. We count backwards from 54 to 0. Our counting is 54: I am breathing in; 54: I am breathing out. We try not to make an error as we would have to start again. We add the mantra So Ham to the counting. Now we are aware of our breath, we are visualizing our breath going in and out of our nostrils and we are concentrating on the counting and the mantra.
What happens here?
We are engaged in a neutral activity and therefore not engaging with our besties. Observe the change in yourself. This sadhana can be done several times in the day.
Aim Hrim Klim
Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash