I remember a time in my life when I was sinking deep into the depths of depression. Everything I had wanted and planned for had fallen apart, my mind was whirling, my self-talk punishing, and I felt totally alone even when there were people all around me.
What I have learnt from Yoga has allowed me to recognize my mind from four different perspectives:
- Ahamkara is the part of my mind that identifies me as separate from everyone else, it lives in the past and the future, and judges my life in terms of good and bad.
- Chitta is all my thoughts and emotions, it is the storehouse of every one of life’s impressions, both conscious, those that I know about, and subconscious, the effects of life that slipped under my radar.
- Manas is that part of my mind that governs the senses, everything I see, hear, taste, smell and touch comes through Manas.
- Buddhi is the indwelling, indiscriminate observer, identifying me as part of the unified whole of existence, Buddhi mind is the destination in our yoga practices.
Every experience of my life is stored inside of me, sometimes they serve me and at other times they leave me feeling raw and vulnerable.
I have been driving for many years and I no longer have to think about how to drive, I know. When I am hungry there are many yummy meals I can whip up in a jiffy. As a yoga teacher, I can confidently lead a yoga asana class and yogic philosophy oozes out of me.
There is a flip side too.
The self-judgement I immersed myself in after my divorce, re-emerges at times, when I feel I have failed at what I set out to achieve. The debilitating words I heard from a well-meaning parent, echo at times of self-doubt, and the argument and subsequent loss of a dear friend resonates when there’s a need to challenge the status quo.
Yoga has equipped me with the tools to recognize when Ahamkara is in the Control Tower, when I am spiralling down to a dense compacted version of me, yoga has also given me techniques to create the experiences I choose.
To feel expansive, calm and clear Buddhi is the beacon.
Buddhi lives in the here and now, it is the key to letting go of any debilitating self-talk, it is closer than our own breath, it has no edges and no agenda, and we can dissolve all our definitions into it.
- Be still, sit tall and slow your breathing way down.
- Feel right down into the bowl of your pelvis and breath into this space.
- Inhaling, say silently to yourself “breathing in”
- Exhaling, say silently to yourself “breathing out”
- Allow your shoulders to melt away from your ears
- Feel every part of the breath, your whole attention immersed in breathing
Invest 5-10 minutes every day and allow Buddhi to watch over your control tower.