Have you ever experienced stress or experience multiple emotions and thoughts at once? Understanding the nature of the mind can help with easing any worries we may have when our mind is running non-stop. Most of the time we are unaware of the nature of our mind, how the mind moves us in life, and what the chatter in our mind is really trying to tell us. By becoming aware of these certain parts of our mind we can step forward in our actions, words, and conversations a bit more empowered!
Here are four parts of the mind that you may not know about according to Vedic Philosophy:
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The Mind or Manas
- Manas is the part of the mind that we typically think about when we hear the word mind. This is the emotional mind and at times may be irrational.
- One of the main distinctions of Manas is how quickly it stamps things as “like/dislike.”
- Our mind does this so quickly sometimes we don’t even catch it “I like these shoes. It smells bad in the metro station. That yoga class was great”
- You may be familiar with Manas from the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali- aka “chitta vritti”
The Intellect or Buddhi
- The Buddhi (similar to the word Buddha) is the rational mind.
- This is a wise part of the mind that gives us awareness. The verbal root budh– means “to awaken.”
- Our wise intellect is able to think back on our experiences, relate to experiences and people around you, and is always guiding your next move.
The Ego or Ahankara
- Sometimes the word Ego gets a bad rap. But the part of the mind that we associate with the Ahankara is our sense of individuality, of course in healthy doses.
- We need aspects of the ahankara for happiness and our personality or else we’d be depressed. We would feel lost without our sense of I.
- When this part of the mind is unobserved, it can run on competitiveness and constantly comparing itself to others. Having the awareness is the first part of a healthy & balanced Ahankara or Ego.
The Unconscious Mind or Chitta
- The Chitta is sometimes also referred to as the Storehouse of emotions.
- You may also see it referred to as the Heart (the heart of emotions). This is where all our experiences, memories, and impressions or samskaras get stored.
- Many times we have unprocessed or undigested emotions in this part of the mind- and they may strive for our attention in various ways. The way we react to situations may be one of them, or the way we cope with stress may be another.
Collectively, the mind works quickly and beautifully, fusing all these different parts in each and every scenario we’re in. The next time you’re in any situation, see if you can pick up which part of the mind it is! Are you thinking about the past? Are you proud of something you created? Are you faced with an important life decision? Did something upset you recently?