The five activities of the mind are: correct comprehension (pramana), misapprehension (viparyaya), imagination (vikalpa), deep dreamless sleep (nidra), and memory (smrti).
PRACTICAL LIVING It is easier to understand the mind by observing its activities than to describe it as its own entity. The recent presidential election and campaign in the United States is a useful scenario to explore and describe these activities. Presidential candidates use Memory/Smrti to remind us either of wonderful things they have done for the poor/rich, or horrible things their opponent has done. Imagination/Vikalpa is a powerful tool that politicians use to take our minds into the future and imagine a beautiful world under their presidency – this is closely linked to smrti/memory. The presidential debates and their campaigns can bring a lot of Misunderstanding/Viparyaya as facts get distorted, the ego becomes more important than the nation, and as winning becomes more important than telling the truth. Many of us voted believing we experience Pramana/Correct Understanding in this topic. Do we? I think I need some Deep Sleep/Nidra and hopefully tomorrow will bring a little more clarity 🙂
IN THE YOGA WORLD Yoga also tells us we can experience 5 different states of mind, from gross to subtle. Ksipta is the unsteady, restless, monkey-mind, associated to rajas (a fire-like state). Mudha, on the other hand, is a dull, deluded mind where tamas (a rock-like state) is predominant. Vikshepa is a distracted, confused, oscillating mind, which achieves concentration randomly but loses it quickly. This is where we are most of the time: fluctuating from rajas to tamas. Ekagrata is one-pointed focus, where sattva (balance) is predominant. Finally, nirodhah is total absorption, where a person rests in their own nature (refer to Sutra I.3). In yoga, the gradual movement occurs from gross to subtle, from vikshepa to nirodha, from viparyaya (misunderstanding) to pramana (correct comprehension). The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali offers us several tools to allow this movement to occur.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Robert is my yoga teacher, or my “Target Buddha”. Long story short: I
went to India in 2004 with the hope of finding an Indian mystical guru who would miraculously cure me. 6 months later I left India teacher-less. Against my judgmental mind, I found a fabulous yoga teacher in Los Angeles. Just like the teacher I never found in India, I never found a Buddha statue. And similarly to finding an American teacher in the entertainment capital of the world, I found a Buddha that smiled at me at Target – yes, the giant retail store 🙂 Robert guides me to use gratitude – reminding myself of how amazing my life is. He has taught me a powerful tool using the imagination – bhavana – the art of visualizing a magnificent future. With his help I have gradually become more aware of my viparyaya and understood how yoga works to a deeper level. I am deeply grateful for the past seven plus years of a nurturing relationship that has given me internal strength, confidence and faith. Thank you Roberto!
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and we will look at correct understanding/pramana in depth next week!