For all of these, we use the mind. In the English language, the word mind is a catchall, that includes all our cognitive functions.
From the wikipedia page titled “Mind”, we get —
The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity’s thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.
In the Hindu systems, the mind (manas) is considered to be part of a larger complex of functions. These are called the “antahkarana”, or the inner causes. This classifies the cognitive faculties into four parts —
- Ahamkāra – The function that identifies the Atman (Self) to the body
- Buddhi – The intellect, that is able to analyze, study and understand things
- Manas – The mind, that is responsible for sensory processing and cognition
- Chitta – This is the storehouse of memories and impressions
- Thinking Mind and the Working Mind – The Thinking Mind, as the name suggests, is that aspect of our mind that thinks. The working mind is that which takes care of the functions that do not require any thoughts.
- The Thinking Mind and the Spiritual or Heart Mind – This categories a deeper mind, that operates at a completely different level than the world of thoughts, etc.
- As you go for a walk outside, look at your surroundings, let’s say you’re walking in a peaceful and calm park, and there are beautiful trees all around. Look at a tree as you normally would. See how you feel – you will find that there is a “Me”, who is looking at the “tree”. Now look at another tree, may be a shrub, a pond, and so on.
- Immediately after this, imagine that you are looking from your heart (in the center of your chest) at the same things you saw. Look at the first tree now, and note if you find a difference in how it feels to you. Does the tree feel separate from you? Does it feel like there is a separate you and a separate tree? Or is there simply cognition, without the separation? Similarly, look at the same things (or other things) you had noticed in the first step, and observe if there is a sense of separateness.
- After you have sufficiently practiced this way of seeing, you can now try to find a plant exceedingly beautiful. Maybe something with wonderfully beautiful flowers. See it with your heart mind. Next look at a plant that you would not normally consider beautiful, maybe even a weed. Look at it with your heart mind. Do you find that —
- There is a sense of separateness between you and the plant?
- Do you find there is a sense of qualitative difference in how you perceive the “beautiful plant” and the weed?
- After having done the previous exercise, now look at some animals. If you have a dog (or your neighbor’s dog), look at it with your heart-mind. And then look at a human being with your heart-mind. Do you find there is a sense of separateness, or a sense of “difference” between your perception of the dog and the human being?
- After having sufficiently experimented this way, try looking at someone you like or love with the heart-mind. Next look at someone whom you don’t like or have issues with, with your heart-mind. Do you find that you still find the ill-feelings towards the disliked person once you see them with your heart-mind? Do you find that you have some perceptional difference between your loved one and the disliked one? Or that there is a sense of separateness between you and the the loved one or the disliked one?
More posts by this author:
- I am what you are
- Effortless Action arising spontaneously
- Who am I?
- Zhan Zhuang – Standing Meditation
- Close encounters of the Fourth kind