Mind over matter

Lifestyle Fashion

Success in life is also tied to the quality of our thoughts. If we harbour noble, beautiful, and serene thoughts, our life becomes blessed. We naturally attract good opportunities and events to ourselves. In contrast, if we think selfish, violent, and dishonest thoughts, we will draw misfortune in our life.

We Are Where Our Mind Is

The mind is so powerful that it can make heaven out of hell and hell out of heaven. An uncontrolled mind can make us experience hellish torments, though we may be surrounded by heavenly luxuries. On the other hand, a trained mind can make us relish heavenly delights, even in the most hellish situations. We are literally where our mind is.

Cultivate the Garden of Your Mind

If we have a garden at home, we tend to it daily. We fertilise the soil. We sow appropriate seeds and water the plants regularly. At the same time, we are careful to weed out the wild grass as it grows faster than the plants themselves and will choke them out. If we work hard at tending our garden, it rewards us with luscious fruits and beautiful flowers. However, if we leave it to grow wild, it is quickly overrun by weeds and becomes an eyesore.

The mind, too, is like a garden given to us by God. Its fertile soil has the potential for providing us with inspiring thoughts and noble feelings. However, we have to tend to it carefully. We need to continuously fertilise it with elevating sentiments and pull out the weeds of poisonous emotions.

The mind will then reward us with a sterling and heroic character to accomplish great things. People who achieved greatness did so by cultivating their mind. The great saint Shankaracharya posed the question: jagat jitam kena? ‘Who shall conquer this world?’ The wise answer he gave was: mano hi yena ‘One who has conquered his mind’. When someone reins in and elevates their mind, their thoughts and ideas become so inspiring that they influence the entire world.

The average person’s mind is not under control. Students often experience this when they sit down to study. They find their mind wandering all over the world except on the subject of study. Scientists estimate that we use less than 10 per cent of our mental and intellectual potential. The rest is dissipated because of lack of focus of the mind. Hence, we must attentively learn the fine art of controlling our mind. With this goal, let us deepen our knowledge of it.

Mind, Intellect, Chitta, and Ego

The mind has four aspects to it—mana, buddhi, chitta, and ahankar. These are not distinct entities. Rather, they are four levels at which the one mind operates. Let us understand them:

1. Mind (Mana): When the inner machinery gives birth to thoughts, we call it mana, or the mind.

2. Intellect (Buddhi): When it engages in analysis and decision-making, we refer to it as buddhi, or intellect.

3. Subconscious mind (Chitta): This is the repository of memories and inner convictions. It includes impressions continuing from past lives.

4. Ego (Ahankar): When it identifies with the attributes of the body and manifests pride, it is called ahankar, or ego.

These levels of functioning are all facets of the one mind. Therefore, we can refer to them in any of the following ways: the mind, or the mind-intellect, or the mind intellect-ego, or the mind-intellect-chitta-ego. All these terms denote the same internal apparatus.

Excerpted with permission from Spiritual Secrets from Hinduism—Essence of the Vedic Scriptures by Swami Mukundananda, published by Rupa Publications

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