Monday, December 16, 2013 | Posted in Attending, Inspiration
The study of psychology has been a lifelong passion for me, but has been largely limited to Western theories and thinking. In fact, ‘thinking’ is the critical word. Much is made of the role of thought and the brain, and unraveling these mysteries is the purpose of the exciting field of neuroscience.
Since my early exposure to archetypes and the logic of emotion, I have been trying to solve these puzzles and truly understand subconscious and emotional beliefs, values and drivers. I have also scoured the literature and taken courses to expand my knowledge and open my eyes.
It was with this mindset, and in anticipation of a study in India, that I signed on for an Ayurvedic Psychology course – Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine. What I found deepened my understanding and altered my focus.
The mind is present in Ayurveda in several forms – four to be exact. However, some forms of mind are distracting and need to be worked through, then set aside in order to grow in awareness.
Manas – the lower mind – is the conditioned mind where our perceptions of self are based on others’ opinions.
Chitta – the experiential or causal mind – is essentially a memory bank that leads to habitual attractions and repulsions but is always looking back and is never fully in the here and now.
Ahamkara – the sense of individuality or ego – tends to pursue its own desires without a sense of the collective.
Living among those three minds keeps us in fear and survival mode and can be the cause of psychological pain and physical illness.
Most critical of the four Ayurveda minds is Buddhi – the higher mind or discriminating mind – which acts on a much deeper level. This is the inner intelligence and knowing that, when accessed, provides true insight. Unfortunately, Buddhi is often clouded by the activity in the other minds, which impairs the possibility of self-realization. Stillness, mindfulness, breath and meditation are used to clear the Buddhi and access its clarity. Given the mind is atomic – traveling throughout the body and fusing with the senses to attain knowledge – stilling the body makes intuitive sense. Sadly, that’s not a priority in our world.
My plans for a trip to India in February will include study at an Ayurvedic Healing Village. I hope to learn, first hand, techniques to understand this psychological interplay and devise ways to incorporate this insight into market research and life!