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Knowing and integrating your mind as a friend

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  • Swami J
    ************************************** Swami J s Newsletter (Address and subscribe/unsubscribe info below) ************************************** June 26, 2001
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2001
      Swami J's Newsletter
      (Address and subscribe/unsubscribe info below)

      June 26, 2001

      Dear Friends,

      Sometimes on the spiritual journey it can seem like the mind is an
      enemy to be conquered. Often, it is said that one must "kill the
      ego". But there's another choice. What if, instead of declaring war
      on ourselves, we made peace? What if we got to know our minds,
      thoughts, and emotions as friends? What if we literally asked our
      minds, "Would you please be my friend? Would you please help me on
      this inner journey?"


      In Sacred Journey, Swami Rama writes:

      Knowing how the mind functions and training it properly is the real
      duty of a human being. This is spiritual work because the properly
      trained mind is what allows the divine within to reveal itself. It is
      this duty and obligation that brings peace and joy to a human being.

      The first step is to remember what our real identity is. We are...
      divine, pure consciousness. If we don't know that truth, isn't at
      least worth accepting as a theory that we are divine and eternal?
      Isn't the possibility of divine nature worth an exploration? Isn't it
      a critical question in knowing the relationship of life and death?
      What dies? What lives? What cannot die?

      Access [to Consciousness] begins with understanding the framework of
      the mind and the makeup of a human being.

      The second step is understanding the four aspects of mind and its
      functions—-buddhi, ahamkara, manas, and chitta. In the untrained
      mind, manas [the sensory-motor mind] assumes roles that are
      inappropriate for it, and ahamkara, the ego [literally, the "I-
      maker"], takes a greater position of power and authority than is its
      rightful place. The ahamkara is really a temporary structure that
      gives form to the individual. The ahamkara is not lasting. It is not
      the true identity of the individual, but a servant with a tendency to
      think it is master.

      The four functions of mind must be integrated. Each has a necessary
      role to play, in concert and harmony with the others. Manas and
      ahamkara should do their jobs and no more. Buddhi [the function which
      properly decides, judges, and discriminates] must be trained and
      exercised to make the decisions that bring a person to growth and

      When all the faculties of mind are truly integrated a person can soar
      to the higher levels of enlightenment. No great person has ever
      attained Self-realization or enlightenment without total integration
      of mind. This integration requires effort, practice, and skill. It
      means making the mind one-pointed and inward. Unless the mind is
      integrated it cannot perform skillful actions, because the finer
      cords of the thinking process and desires will remain obstacles in
      the path of liberation....

      Conduct a dialogue with yourself. Remind yourself of your real
      identity. Converse with yourself. You will discover that the best of
      all friends in the external world or anywhere else, is your own Self.
      If you learn to have an internal dialogue you will become comfortable
      with yourself. Fears of the outside world, of others, and of
      circumstances, will disappear....

      This dialogue requires introspection. With any close friend you are
      interested in their life and you are sensitive to their emotions. You
      listen to them. The same should be true in your relationship with
      yourself. Pay attention and inspect your own feelings and thoughts.
      Be gentle with yourself, as you would be with any good friend. Don't
      condemn yourself or be judgmental. You will begin to trust your inner
      Self and realize what a magnificent guide and constant, faithful
      companion your inner Self is.

      In loving service,

      Swami J
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