Cleansing the mind.

This week I would like to talk about cleansing the mind.

Many of us have heard Patanjali’s famous definition of yoga: “yogas chitta vritti nirodhah”, which means “yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind”. Chitta is mind, vrittis are the fluctuations, nirodah is removal.

In Sutra 1.5 (Vryttayah pancatayyah klishta aklishta), Patanjali says that we experience five types of vrittis (fluctuations).

1. Valid Cognition (Pramana)

2. Misconception (Viparyaya)

3. Imagination (Vikalpa)

4. Sleep (Nidra)

5. Memory (Smriti)

Some of these vrittis may be painful (klishta) or non-painful (aklishta).

When one sits in meditation, thoughts emerge, and some will cause a reaction more than other because of how we perceive them. If we let them pass through without attaching meaning or engaging with them, we can let them go without disturbing our meditation. It is not about suppressing them because this too will cause an engagement, a disturb in the mind {Vritti}; it is about letting them raise and learn to let them go. In time the Vrittis lose significance chasing to disturb the meditative mind. It’s like the bubbles in a glass of sparkling water, they rise to the surface and eventually, the bubbles will all go and the water becomes still. When Vrittis lose their power to hold our attention, the mind can rest quietly.

Patanjali tells us that what stops the mind meditating (and clearing the clutter) are the distractions: Ignorance, I-ness, desire, aversion, and attachment. (Yoga Sutras, II, 3).

Both mind and body are a storehouse of past pains, physical and emotional and believes, conditioning, the Samskaras that are deep in the Citta (mind).

It is through the practice of yoga and meditation that we can clean and declutter our minds.

Patanjali says that “through sustained practice and the cultivation of dispassion, these fluctuations of mind can be stilled” (YS 1.12).

If you haven't tried meditation, find a guided meditation online, Yoga Nidra is my favorite practice and Mantra meditation. I have a recorded Yoga Nidra with Sound healing in TBY Videos for my student's home practice.