Knowing and integrating your mind as a friend
Swami J's Newsletter
(Address and subscribe/unsubscribe info below)
June 26, 2001
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?"
KNOWING YOUR MIND AS A FRIEND
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,