Yoga practice is to know what the mind is and who the ego within us is and how they are related to the perception of suffering.
The ego is the voice in us that telling us ‘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, you are 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’s this, she’s that’, ‘this is good, that is bad’, ‘this is happiness, that is suffering’ and so on.
The senses come in contact with the objects and through the senses, the mind sees, hear, smells, tastes, touches, and thinks. It all happens in the mind. Without the mind, we cannot perceive what we see or hear and so on. The mind perceives everything through the sense organs, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the skin and the thinking faculty.
If the mind doesn’t function anymore, when it is cut off from the senses, the world doesn’t exist for us at all although we still exist to the world, such like being in a coma.
Along with the function of the intellect to differentiate all the differences of names and forms, good and bad, comfort and discomfort, and the ego will generate likes and dislikes, cravings and aversions.
When we feel good, actually it is the mind and the ego feeling good. When we feel bad, actually it is the mind and the ego feeling bad.
The mind is ever restless. It is a continuous flow of thought waves constantly whether 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 at the present moment or the imaginations of the future.
It is so fickle 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 control ourselves anymore if the mind goes haywire.
The mind is such a beautiful thing if it is pure and under control, but at the same time it can be very dangerous as well if we don’t have a clue of what is going on inside there.
When we categorize the thoughts in the mind as happiness, we will laugh and feel happy and crave for more. When we categorize the thoughts as suffering, we will cry and feel sad and rejecting them. If the craving or the rejection is not attended or not gratified, then we will be frustrated and feel suffer because it’s against our wish.
If we identified with the mind, we will be happy at one moment and being unhappy at another moment and so on. It is madness but it is very normal too.
When the mind is pure, we shall have no problems at all.
Once we had purified the mind, the mind is an unlimited resource of power, wisdom and bliss. The Yogis utilize the pure mind to tap the knowledge of the universe.
First came thoughts, then they will manifest as actions and speech. And these actions and speech will bind us with the related karma (cause and effect).
Thus the health of the mind or the state of the mind determines the conditions of all the existence that we perceive now.
The mind, the intellect and the ego work so well together. They like each other very much and will support each other like a family.
The ego is under the influences of the mind all the time, but the mind is like an innocent child because of it ignorance. The thoughts in the mind do not mean to influence anything or to hurt anyone or to control anything at all. It is just a continuous flow of thought waves arising and passing away. It is neither good nor bad in nature. It has no intention to be good or bad if we do not attach to them.
The ego does not like the evolution of the self in the path to enlightenment or Self realization (selfless), because it is weakening by the progress of the self moving towards purity and closer to the higher consciousness. It has less power. Eventually it will go into deep sleep, when the self has reached selflessness (egoless).
If we have developed a strong will power, we can easily over power the ego and have control over all the impure thoughts such as lustful, greedy and evil thoughts.
Selfishness is one of the characteristics of the ego. So as not wanting to be disciplined is one of the characteristics of the mind.
The mind does not like to be disciplined or being controlled and restraint, like our hands and feet are being tide up, not free to do what we like, we won’t like it.
They are very impatient as well. They like variety and cannot concentrate on one thing at a time for a long period, they will get bored easily.
They both like the things that they are
agreeable with (doesn’t matter right or wrong, good or bad). And they
are strongly rejecting the things that they are not agreeable with.
If we want to transcend ‘suffering’, we need to transcend these two elements within us. They are the main factor or the switch that keeps telling us ‘this is good’, ‘this is bad’, ‘this is happiness’, and ‘this is suffering’.
We can not kill them or make them disappear. But we can transcend or over power them by strengthening our will power, purify the mind, stilling the mind and unfold the wisdom.
Practicing the Yoga asana (control of the physical body) and Pranayama (control of the breath or Prana) regularly and other disciplines of the teaching can help us to achieve this.
The Prana and the mind are inter-influencing each other. When the Prana moves, the mind moves and vice versa. By controlling the breath, we can control the Prana, and thus controlling the mind as well.