Yoga practice is to know what the mind is and what the ego is, or what is the 'I' that the mind thinks and believes as 'I', and how they are related to the perception of suffering.
The ego is the idea of 'I' deriving from ignorance and egoism in the mind that keeps telling ourselves and others about ‘this is me’, ‘I am this, I am that’, ‘I am happy, I am sad’, ‘I am healthy, I am sick’, ‘I am pretty, I am ugly’, ‘I am superior, I am inferior’, ‘I am right, I am wrong’, ‘this is mine, that is not mine’, ‘I am not this, I am not that’, ‘I want this, I don’t want that’, or ‘he is this, she is that’, ‘this is good, that is bad’, ‘this is happiness, that is suffering’, and so on.
Upon the senses coming in contact with the objects of the senses, the mind sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, feels and thinks. It all happens in the mind. Without the mind or the senses, there is no perception of names and forms of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thoughts, and so on. The mind perceives and experiences everything through the sense organs, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the skin, and the thinking faculty, while expressing itself and performing actions through the physical body, mouth, hands and feet, or the organs of action and speech.
If the mind doesn’t function, when it is disconnected from the senses, the world doesn’t exist for us at all although the physical body might still exist to the world, or in scientific words, certain part of the brains that is related to the perceptive cognitive thinking faculty of the physical body is not functioning as it should be due to certain injury or illness, such like being in the state of coma, or in the state of deep sleep, where the brains, the sense organs and the senses are taking their deep rest for a few hours. There's no perception of names and forms.
Physical paralysis or dysfunction is different from the state of coma, as the mind or the thinking faculty is still functioning being aware or conscious of what is happening in the physical body and in the modification of the mind of all kinds of sensations, thoughts and feelings arising and passing away, and continues to perceive or interact with the world of names and forms through the senses, but only certain part of the physical body is not in the control of the mind for certain function/mobility/action/movement due to certain damages or malfunction occur in the central nervous system, or in the peripheral nervous system, or in the bones, organs, blood vessels, glands, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Whether the mind or the thinking faculty of the brains is taking a deep rest, or has some defects/ignorance/impurities/malfunction, or not, the selfless consciousness is not being affected at all.
Along with the function of the
intellect that analyzes, reasons, identifies and differentiates all kinds of names and forms, good
and bad, comfort and discomfort, and the ego will assert likes and
dislikes, desires of cravings and aversions, intentions and aspirations, and to be gratifying all these through certain actions and reactions.
When we think we feel good or bad, it is merely the ego, or the idea of 'I' in the mind feeling good or bad.
The impure modification of the mind that is under the influence of ignorance and egoism is ever restless. It is a continuous flow of thought waves ceaselessly, either consciously or unconsciously, while we are awake, dreaming, or in deep sleep. It is a lifelong projector, showing the memories from the past, the names and forms receiving from the senses in the present moment, or the imaginations/projections/anticipations towards the future.
It is so fast that it keeps on jumping from one scene to another without us realizing what is going on. We will become insane and not able to have self-control over ourselves, if the modification of the mind went out of control completely, where some people think and believe that they are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, sensing, feeling, imagining, or interacting with something that is not there, but for them, it's there, and it's so real.
The mind is neither good nor bad. It's about the presence and absence of ignorance and egoism. If it is pure and free from ignorance and egoism, it can create many good and positive things for itself and others, but it can be very dangerous as well if it is impure and is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, as it can be generating harmful actions/reactions unto itself and others.
Similarly, the intellect is neither good nor bad. It's the presence and absence of ignorance, as well as the conditional corrupted thinking and belief in the mind that is influencing how the intellect performs its duty or function of reasoning and analyzing. The intellect that is functioning under the influence of ignorance and particular conditional corrupted thinking and belief cannot reason or analyze names and forms as they are, but the reasoning or analysis is being contaminated and influenced by ignorance and the conditional corrupted thinking and belief in the mind. That's why the importance of purifying the intellect, by freeing the mind from being conditioned by any particular limited and corrupted passionate egoistic thinking and belief.
For the ego, or the idea of 'I', we can't even say that the ego is neither good nor bad, as it doesn't really exist, and it's not even part of the function of the mind, but it only exists in the form of an idea/thought deriving from ignorance and egoism in the mind, that appears to be so 'real' under the continuous stream of the thought-current, where this idea/thought of 'I' attaches onto the modifications of the mind, the thinking process, the feelings and emotions, the wild imaginations, the sensations, the beliefs, the learning, the knowledge, the intelligence, the skills, the memories, the relationships, the experiences, the actions and the fruit of actions, the accomplishment and non-accomplishment, and the possession towards certain impermanent qualities of names and forms to be identifying as "This is I", that could cause so much havoc to the mind itself and to others in the surrounding, ignorantly, even when it doesn't really exist, but it's so powerful to be influencing the mind to think, behave, act and react in certain way that cause so much damages to oneself and others and the surrounding environment.
When we label the thoughts in the mind as happiness, we will laugh and feel happy and crave for more. When we label the thoughts as suffering, we will cry and feel sad and rejecting them. If the craving or the rejection is not being attended or not being gratified, we will be frustrated, disturbed, unhappy and suffer because it’s against our desire.
If there's an identification that the mind thinks and believes as 'I' identifying with the restless impure modification of the mind, this 'I' will be happy at one moment and being unhappy at another moment, and so on. It is madness, but it is very normal and common too.
When the mind is pure free from impurities, ignorance and egoism, there is no problem, no suffering.
Once the mind is purified, and void of ignorance and egoism or impurities, upon the annihilation of the modifications of the mind where the restless thought-current or thought activities subsided transcending the three Gunas, the selfless silent witness/awareness/consciousness that is identical with and non-distinct from the selfless universal consciousness is an unlimited embodiment of wisdom, compassion and bliss.
All kinds of unnecessary problems, unhappiness or suffering arise, when the mind or the thinking faculty is functioning under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities powered by the three Gunas of Prana. First came thoughts, then they manifest as actions and speech. And these actions and speech will bind this mind with the respective cause and effect (actions and the consequences of actions).
does not like the evolution of the mind in the path towards liberation from ignorance, or
Self realization (selflessness), as it will be weakened by the process of
the mind moving towards purity, and getting closer towards selflessness, or the annihilation of the ego.
It will have less and less power. Eventually it will vanish from the modification of the mind, or ceased 'existing' although it doesn't really exist, upon the mind attains the realization of selflessness (egolessness or 'I'lessness).
If the ignorant suffering mind developed a strong will power, it can easily over power the ego, or even eliminate the ego (the idea of 'I') completely, and not being over-powered by any impure thoughts such as selfish, lustful, greedy, hurtful and evil thoughts.
Selfishness is one of the characteristics of the ego. So as not wanting to be disciplined is also one of the characteristics of the ego.
The egoistic mind does not like to be disciplined or being controlled and restrained, it's like when our hands and feet are being tide up, not being free to do what we would like to do, or go where we want to go, we won’t like it.
The egoistic modification of the mind is very impatient as well. It likes variety and stimulation, and cannot concentrate on one thing at a time for a prolonged period, it will get bored and distracted easily.
If this mind that perceives 'suffering' due to the presence of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness wants to transcend ‘suffering’, it needs to transcend the (impure) intellect and the (non-existing) ego within the modification of the mind. They are the ones that give rise to incorrect thinking in the modifications of the mind influencing the mind under the veil of ignorance to think and act in certain way, such as ‘this is good’, ‘this is bad’, 'this is right', 'this is wrong', ‘this is happiness’, ‘this
is suffering’, 'I want this', or 'I don't want that', which are not what things are.
The mind can transcend both the intellect and the ego by developing and strengthening the will power, disciplining and purifying the modification of the mind, purifying and sharpening the intellect by renouncing all kinds of worldly passionate egoistic thinking and beliefs, letting go of the ego by stop empowering the ego or the idea of 'I' through renouncing from worldly passionate egoistic activities, stilling or quieting the modification of the mind through concentration and meditation that enabling the absorption or annihilation of the modification of the mind to be happening, and as that happens, the wisdom that is always there, but was hidden under the veil of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restless modifications of the mind, that is never increase nor decrease, being untouched/uncontaminated by the restless impure modification of the mind of ceaseless births and deaths of the different countless states of the mind manifesting out of ignorance and egoism powered by the three Gunas of the Prana, is unveiled.
Practicing the Yoga Asana (control of the physical body) and Pranayama (control of the breath or Prana) and other disciplines of the teachings regularly, without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation towards the practice and the fruit of the practice, can help the ignorant and suffering thinking mind to achieve this.
The Prana consists of the three Gunas and the mind are inter-influencing each other. When the Prana moves, the mind moves, and vice versa. The impermanent states of the mind are indeed the different Gunas in action, depending on which Guna is predominant in the present moment. The Prana is the life force of the physical body, and without Prana, there's no life, there's no modifications of the mind or thinking, but at the same time, it's also being influenced by the physical positions and movements or mental actvities. By controlling the breath, the Prana is under controlled, as well as by engaging the physical body in certain positions and movements, and the practice of concentration will influence the Prana in certain way, and thus, influencing or rendering the modifications of the mind to be calm and quiet, preparing the mind for performing self-inquiry and meditation practice.
The mind that is functioning under a purified intellect being free from the ego, or the idea of 'I', void of ignorance and egoism, can be doing many good things in the world for itself and others while still existing and functioning, intentionlessly.
The mind that is functioning under an impure intellect being over-powered by the ego, or the idea of 'I' under the influence of ignorance and egoism, will be doing many things that harm itself and others and the world, either intentionally or unintentionally, wittingly or unwittingly.
Inquire the truth of everything.