How to keep the mind still

RAJ YOGA is a connection that enables I, the Self, to be the master.  This means becoming a master of anything physical—including the physical body and anything perceivable through the physical senses—that may have an impact on the soul, through the mind.  The mind gets impressions using these five senses. When it perceives something directly without their help, most people refer to that as the working of a sixth sense.  First of all, yoga means I am in contact with my true nature.  Normally, the energy of the mind is radiated out into the world also through the sense organs. In that way, we may call ourselves externalized beings. In yoga, the energy of the mind is looped back into the self. LOOKING BACK When a soul is thinking, feeling and/or sensing, we say that the mind is at work. The mind is a faculty of the soul, an ability of the soul, as much as the intellect is an ability.  When I, the Soul, sort out thoughts and perceptions, that is actually the intellect doing so.  The mind, intellect, and tendencies (sanskaras), are all faculties of the soul, not separate from the soul. In fact they are the ways by which the soul operates. They are the expressions and activities of the soul.  When the soul is thinking, we say the mind is at work; when the soul is evaluating, we say the intellect is. And when the soul is expressing individual inclinations, we say the tendencies (sanskaras) are operating.  “Yoga of the intellect” equates to focus of attention. I choose what I focus my attention on, and it will either drain my energy or give me energy.  The third eye gives me the ability to concentrate with my mind on something intangible, like the Supreme Soul, and hold it, fully understanding what it is. But first, I have to consider myself to be a soul. Thus, the intellect causes the mind to withdraw energy from the sense organs and the external world and to go the opposite direction, the Self—I, the Soul. The first step is to withdraw myself from these eyes and ears even while they are working. I can see, I can hear, but in my mind I take a position somewhere in the middle of my head.  From there I look through the eyes—like looking through the viewfinder of the camera and deciding which photograph to take. So the eyes, the mind, and I, the Soul could work in an absolutely symbiotic way.  For meditation, I need to clearly distinguish between who I am and what my body is; otherwise I will not be able to really grasp the notion that I am not this body.  With meditation, I will have access to phenomena outside the range of sense perceptions.  For one thing, the third eye could also be considered as the organ of understanding. When I come to understand something, I say, “I see” or  “I see what you mean.” Imagination means I, the Soul have the capacity to form images inside the mind to help me deal with concepts and ideas and understand what life is about.

February 2013

The mind is intangible. Thus the things it perceives independently of the senses are also intangible.
MAKING CONTACT The main aim of Raj Yoga practice is to have direct contact with the Supreme Being. That’s real yoga. The better word for this, however, is remembrance.  I could be sitting in Mount Abu but thinking about my house elsewhere in the world. My mind is able to dart all over the planet and beyond.  I could think into the past or into the future. The mind is not limited the way the body is. I could send my mind to New York although my body stays here. Actually, the mind is habituated to darting all over the place because every person has enormous amounts of sensory input. All of these goes into the mind and distracts it, this way, that way.  We have memories, concerns, desires, ambitions which pull the mind here, there, everywhere. The mind is not so easily concentrated—something that is needed for yoga.  In fact, the mind doesn’t like to be concentrated because it enjoys jumping around.  If I say to the mind, “Focus on the point of light,” it will probably reply, “Did that—what next?” Then I could say, “Focus on the point of light for 10 minutes.” The likely response would be, “Why should I do that?  There are more interesting things.”  And so the mind—my ability to think, feel and sense—needs to be developed and focused. It needs to be disciplined and brought to a point where it will do what I want.  It is not very keen about being disciplined.  What could help bring it to a focused state?  The intellect.  But in order to get the intellect to focus the mind on the Supreme, I have to be very detached from the physical. To make contact with the Supreme Soul, I must be on the same level.  This concept of the Self as a point of light is a very extraordinary mechanism. It shifts me, mentally, intellectually, from considering reality as material, to seeing a non-material reality.  Just a point— no length, no breadth, no width.  Physics says that matter in its essential form is physical light; the spirit is a non-physical light.  Two kinds of light—and there, too, lies the distinction between my body, which is a something, and myself, which is a someone. This something can be reduced to a point of physical light and myself to a point of light as well, but which is conscious.  I am aware that I’m a point.  The body cannot be aware that it’s a body.   So now I, the Self, am aware that I can see through my eyes and hear through my ears.  Imagine then, this tiny point of light as someone who is not part of the material world.  –Denise Lawrence

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