Genni Lee Hester

Mind Medicine: योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोध

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Our minds are like hungry ghosts. In Buddhist cosmology there are six realms of rebirth (i.e., humans, gods, warriors, ghosts, hells, animals). The ‘wheel of life’ or bhavacakra provides a visualization of the six realms. Hungry ghosts have huge bellies with tiny throats; therefore, they never feel satisfied.

By looking at your Google history you can gauge where your mind or meditation practice is. Every so often my mind goes into starvation mode. For instance, I will have six tabs open researching anything from graduate schools, vegan blogs, Spinoza’s birthday, and how to get a work visa for Spain. We say we are ‘surfing’ the Internet, but in reality we are drowning in it. The issue here is not with the Web; the issue resides within the mind.

Remaining in Eastern Philosophy, the most practical key I have used to soothe a hungry mind is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Most specifically Sutra #2: योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥.Which is transliterated as YOGAS CITTA VRTTI NIRODHAH (sans accents). This is simply Patanjali’s definition of yoga; the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga. Best news: you don’t need to mat to really practice yoga. Yoga is simply bringing the mind back to its abode.

The mind is similar to food cravings. When you have that cup of coffee or piece of sugar, you often want more the next day. The study of and reflection on Sutra Two has been serviceable tool in my meditation practice. Meditation is simply detoxifying the mind. Try to take time to detox the mind everyday; it is the best abode in the bardo.


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