Study your mind to know more about yourself. The more you know yourself, the more it will become easier for you to work with yourself.
You will know your pleasures, pains and deep-rooted afflictions. You will receive clarity on all manner of things. You will know on your energy blockages. You will know your emotional and mental self. You will know how you come to the space of behaving the way you do, whether it is noble or not-so. You will see your patterns of behaviour, attitude that you follow in certain circumstances. Study of the mind is like sitting at the top, watching yourself doing things that you do, the decisions that you take.
This reflective exercise will keep you absorbed towards your growth process. It will help you release your samskaras/impressions. Some impressions are deep-rooted in the psyche, the space from where thoughts flow, patterns emerge and actions are taken. Studying your mind will help you realise some of the on-going patterns that can be cleared for ease of life.
For starters, these three observations can be made:
1. What thoughts am I feeding my mind with?: Thoughts are ongoing and they keep changing. Watch the inconsistency of thoughts. See how the mind wanders, flits from one thought to another relentlessly. Observe the linkages of thoughts, their patterns, to your actions. Observe the content of thoughts.
Observe the power it holds in propelling you to take certain actions in a moment, in a day, in a lifetime. Karma is action. Observe the karma or action being taken from a certain thought realm. An action becomes a cause for another karma or action. Action is the effect, of the cause/s created in the mental sphere, through thoughts. When the cause-creation at the mental level is changed, the action/karma at the physical level is changed. Study the mind to observe how karmindriyas behave as per the thought-content; mouth, the speech it produces, feet, where they take, arms, the noble or ignoble act they do.
2. Where is my mind concentrated?: Meditation is a tool to give mind rest from endless waves of thoughts. The idea of meditation is to pause thought-waves and concentrate. Can you concentrate fully on one cycle of breath without the mind flitting? Can you concentrate on one asana practice without letting the mind wander? Can you chant for two minutes with a concentrated mind? Can you hold an illuminating thought for two minutes?
Concentrating the mind is a practice which comes about gradually. Or shall one say, concentrating the mind on positive aspects needs a conscious practice because you do concentrate, however, on limiting aspects; one can concentrate endlessly on pain, on painful thoughts, on rants, resentments. Isn’t it? How should positive concentration practice be done ? As per yoga sutra practice or abhyas should be long-term, without gap and done with devotion/faith (dirghkal , nairantarya, satkara).
3. How am I directing my mind?: When judgement, regret, anger, fear and such disturbing emotions swirl the mind, how do I, as a pure Consciousness, decide to direct my mind? Study this aspect. Unable to direct, is the mind getting embroiled in pain? In pleasure? In the past or future? How can these afflictions be directed?
Yoga sutra suggests to develop the attitude of indifference (vairagya) to the unwanted. What happens when vairagya is practiced? The mind becomes free. It is easy to direct a mind which is not negatively stuck. One is then able to concentrate on positive aspects and on meditation allowing calmness to spread and inner guidance to blossom.
Studying the mind to witness its workings, to make it steady and to direct it to as per your will, is not a job of one day or two. It is a continuous practice, a sadhana.
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is an emotional healer and a forgiveness teacher. All the ideas expressed herein are her own, and not professional advice or medical prescription. Her website is: www.karmicwellness.in Email: firstname.lastname@example.org