“It’s all in the mind” we hear this pretty often. What is the mind? Does it really exist? According to the Bhagavad Gita at the gross level we have the indriyas (senses), above which we have manas (mind) and then the buddhi (intellect) and finally the atma (the self).
We know we have a brain. So then what is the mind? The mind in reality does not exist. The mind is nothing more than the manifestation of our beliefs, opinions, biases and judgments. The mind exists when there is a parade of thoughts in our brain. The mind is like the “current” in water. It is a dynamic quality and not a physical entity. In fact our mind only exists in our mind.
However while the mind does exist physically as an entity it does come into existence as a manifestation of our deepest beliefs, biases and opinions.
We have to be mindful of our mind. Some of things we need to do are
Free yourself of assumptions: Our thoughts and actions are usually based on our ideas. Many a time we tend to assume things. We see only a snapshot of people or events. We get to know people only through small windows. However the mind tends to average out these experiences from individual events. It tends to interpolate meaning into seemingly unconnected events. The danger of this is that we tend to assume things that are not typically true. For e.g. just because somebody smiles at you on a couple of occasions does not mean that they think favorably of you. Similarly, just because someone is brusque with you on a few occasions does not mean that they dislike you. We have to question our assumptions and generally not extrapolate from isolated events
Free yourself of prejudices: This is another trait of which most of us are guilty of. We are prejudiced towards certain people or acts. We just instantaneously develop a dislike towards somebody or some task. For e.g. if your boss gives you some task to do on a regular basis we may transfer our dislike of our boss to the task given. We will cringe when we have to do this task. It is really important that we step back and try to put off our biases and look at the task or person clearly. If we do that we may find that we really like the task.
The predictable mind: Our mind is in many ways quite predictable. If we like someone then we go out of our way to protect them. For e.g. a parent is extremely careful that his/her child does suffer any pain. Conversely when we hate someone we ensure that we inflict maximum pain to the person we hate. Our mind relishes the pain that somebody whom we hate has to undergo.
So while the mind is a manifestation of our fears, hopes and prejudices it is extremely important that we use our faculty of reason and question these deep-seated beliefs. We have to extremely mindful of our mind.