Study your mind to learn more about yourself. The more you know yourself, the easier it will be for you to work with yourself.

You will know your pleasures, your pains and your deep afflictions. You will receive clarity on all kinds of things. You will know about your energy blockages. You will know your emotional and mental self. You will know how you came to behave the way you do, whether noble or not. You will see your patterns of behavior, the attitude you follow in certain circumstances. Studying the mind is like sitting on top, watching yourself do the things you do, the decisions you make.

This reflective exercise will keep you engrossed in your growth process. This will help you release your samskaras/impressions. Some impressions are deeply rooted in the psyche, the space from which thoughts flow, patterns emerge, and actions are taken. Studying your mind will help you realize some of the ongoing patterns that can be erased to make life easier.

To begin with, these three observations can be made:

1. What thoughts do I feed my mind? : Thoughts are ongoing and they are constantly changing. Observe the inconsistency of thoughts. See how the mind wanders, twirls from one thought to another relentlessly. Observe the connections between thoughts, their patterns, and your actions. Observe the content of thoughts.

Observe the power it holds in propelling you to take certain actions in an instant, in a day, in a lifetime. Karma is action. Observe the karma or action taken from a certain field of thought. One action becomes the cause of another karma or another action. Action is the effect of the cause or causes created in the mental sphere, through thoughts. When the cause-creation on the mental level is changed, the action/karma on the physical level is changed. Study the mind to observe how the karmindriyas behave according to the content of thought; mouth, the word it produces, the feet, where they take, the arms, the noble or ignoble act they do.

2. Where is my mind focused? The idea of ​​meditation is to pause thought waves and focus. Can you fully concentrate on a breath cycle without the mind racing? Can you focus on an asana practice without letting the mind wander? Can you sing for two minutes with a focused mind? Can you hold an enlightening thought for two minutes?

Concentration of the mind is a practice that is done gradually. Or you could say, focusing the mind on the positives requires conscious practice because you are, however, focusing on the limiting aspects; you can focus endlessly on the pain, on the painful thoughts, on the rants, the resentments. Is not it? How to practice positive concentration? According to the yoga sutra, the practice or abhyas should be long term, uninterrupted and performed with devotion/faith (dirghkal, nairantarya, satkara).

3. How do I direct my mind? : When judgment, regret, anger, fear and such disturbing emotions swirl in the mind, how can I, as pure Consciousness, decide to direct my mind? Study this aspect. Unable to lead, is the mind drawn into pain? In pleasure? In the past or the future? How can these afflictions be directed?

The yoga sutra suggests developing the attitude of indifference (vairagya) towards the undesirable. What happens when vairagya is practiced? The mind becomes free. It is easy to direct a mind that is not negatively blocked. One can then focus on the positive aspects and on meditation allowing the calm to spread and the inner guidance to flourish.

Studying the mind to witness its workings, to make it stable and to direct it according to your will, is not a day or two’s work. It is a continuous practice, a sadhana.

Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is an emotional healer and teacher of forgiveness. All ideas expressed herein are his own, and not professional advice or medical prescription. His website is: Email: [email protected]