I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another interesting blog today. On Saturday I was at a local philosophical group and I felt like sharing some interesting points that we discussed during the session.
The main topic of discussion was the Mind and how to control it; via mantra meditation in order to make it our best friend. We spoke about how the mind been a very powerful part of us, has the ability to act or function as our friend and as our enemy, depending on how we take care of it. We shared various realizations as to how we could utilize the mind in the most beneficial manner, in order to attain liberation from material bondage. In fact in the verse we studied on Saturday, it is mentioned that one must elevate himself with his own mind (BG 6:5). This goes a long way to tell us that we are in a non-reversible relationship with our minds. One in which we cannot ask for divorce or even initiate it.
No matter what the mind throws at us, we have to tolerate it and hopefully help it to understand the importance of cultivating better thought patterns. To achieve this, the illustration is given of a chariot that has five horses, one driver and a passenger. The five horses represent our five sense organs (Eyes, Nose, Tongue, Ears, and Skin). These sense organs interact with the environment and acquire info based on their interaction with matter that is favorable to them. The eyes will seek after beautiful images, the nose after fragrant scents etc. If the senses are not controlled then we can imagine how the chariot; our body, will function. Thus to control the horses (Senses) we need to employ the use of reins; which represent the mind. The reins (Mind) are in the hands of the Driver or charioteer who is the symbol of the Intelligence. In other to drive the chariot or this body safely, we need to have the Intelligence giving directions to the mind, who in turn controls the agitations of the senses.
The Passenger in the chariot is the Soul, or our real self. When the soul is in contact with the Supreme Absolute truth, then he is said to be in Knowledge and as such the intelligence can benefit from him in getting the right information needed to direct the mind. If the souls refuses to make contact with the Supreme lord, then it is conditioned in ignorance and as such lacks the means to direct the intelligence properly. At this point one may ask, what does it mean to connect with the Absolute truth/ Supreme Person; who resides in our heart? Yoga is described as “that which connects us with the absolute”. No doubt there are various forms of yoga, and this further shows us that there are various means by which we can connect to the Supreme Lord. Just as a quick point of reference, what is practiced today as “Yoga” is but one of the types of Yoga called Astanga Yoga. This is the Yoga of eight fold perfection of which the postures/stretches etc. are just one part of eight. When we say Yoga we are actually talking about a timeless method of connecting with the Absolute truth.
It therefore comes as no surprise that when people commence their journey of discovering themselves through Yoga and making the connection with the Lord in the heart, there is the dilemma of how to differentiate the voice of the Lord from the dictates of the mind. How do we know that we are making decisions that are guided by the Lord or probably just following the dictates of our restless mind? So in in our meeting we tried to identify some ways by which we can make this distinction and I shall list them; Scripture, Intention, Authority check, Spiritual Mentor/Saints, Moral Bank etc.
The first way to see if the “voice” from within is actually that of the Lord in our heart is to see if whatever it tell us to do is in line with the teachings of any revealed scripture; Bible, Koran, Gita, etc. If we see that our inner voice is giving us instructions that are off the teachings from these scriptures then it is safe to say that the Mind is most probably the one talking to us. Another way to verify the authenticity of this voice is to crosscheck with a higher authority. In our group discussion, one of the participants cited her Mum as an example of higher authority. She said whenever an inner voice suggested something to her, she crosschecked it with her Mother. If it was in line with her Mother’s thoughts then it was safe for her to follow that voice.
A step further will be to see if this voice matches the teachings of our spiritual mentor/guide. The Spiritual Mentor is an external representation of the Lord in the heart and as such, a true spiritual mentor will always be in line with the directions of the Lord from within. Thus we can run whatever instruction we receive from our inner voice through our spiritual Mentor in order to be sure we are not following the mind’s dictate. Last but not least is what I describe as the Moral Bank, a bank in our heart where we save life lessons and morals like we would save cash in a savings account. These Morals are deposited over time, and they can be received from various authoritative sources like Parents, Elders, Saints, etc. How this works is similar to the deposit and withdrawal system of a regular bank account. Whenever we are confronted with a situation that tests our morals and we have to tune into our inner voice for direction, we simply reach into our moral bank account and “withdraw” moral cash from there to “pay” the situation. By withdrawing morals that we have saved in this “account” we access wealth which we then “spend” by acting upon the moral instruction.
The more situations we face the more we reach into our moral bank account. To make a deposit we simply repeat the process of hearing from any of the authoritative sources mentioned above. In a closing note, if the intention of our inner voice is malicious and is capable of causing pain to us and other living entities then it is most definitely our mind speaking and not the Lord in our heart,
Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.