Four Basic Characteristics of the Mind
This is excerpted from the book “The Mind: It’s Projections and Multiple Facets by Yogi Bhajan and GuruCharan Singh, which is also shared on page 121 of the 2007 edition of The Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan.
1) The mind is largely automatic.
Since the mind is fast and beyond the categories of time and space, it supports your actions with many more thoughts than you could ever act on. The result of this is that it is not you who thinks. Your mind thinks, not you. It floods you with thoughts, both wanted and unwanted, intended and unintended. Not all thoughts support the you which is you. You are awareness itself and not all these thoughts. You are actually carried through the soul.
2) The mind is ever moving.
If the mind stops, it cannot function. It is not a local phenomenon. Just like the ocean, you can feel waves that were generated from far away so in the mind, you have thoughts and feelings from the entire universe and every other person. The places and people you are most attuned to and attached to are what usually fill your stream of thoughts. As you become more neutral and non-attached, the scope of these thoughts and feelings widen.
3) The mind functions best in contrasts.
The mind seeks polarities and tends to classify things in pairs, in positive and negative, in good and bad. It seeks polarities and contrasts.
4) The mind is just as material as the body, only it is subtler.
Water exists in degrees of subtlety from vapor to liquid to ice. Just so, you can think of the mind as the vapor, feelings as water and the neurons and connections as ice. The mind is a structure, a process and an energy that lets your awareness operated and manifest in this creation. You can observe it, and you can change it. You can affect it with gross things like food, powerful things like breath, and subtle things like thought. It has its own flow, structure and metabolism.
The mind itself does not stop. This is where special techniques like meditation, mantra and breath control are needed. Using the mind to try to convince the mind to be still is like trying to stop a hurricane by blowing at it. There is too much going on.
A further difficulty is that you use your mind to observe your mind. Just imagine two mirrors facing each other at a slight angle. If you put a candle in between and look into the mirror, you can see hundreds of candles, reflections upon reflections. The mind can reflect back on itself and create images within images, thoughts within thoughts.
We need to be able to affect the mind without getting caught in an infinite self-reference. To do that, we need to understand the structure of the mind, recognize the origin of thought, and consciously determine which thoughts are consistent with our true self. If the 81 facets of the mind can be controlled so that the mind perceives each thought clearly, then the mind can align with the intention of the soul. The result is effectiveness, inner and outer peace, and awakened intuition.
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