The Mind

IMind is the next most important thing after our physical body. While the body is tangible the mind is intangible and hence difficult to fathom. But what is mind? The answer still remains elusive as science, philosophy and religion conceptualize it differently. Science defines mind as the set of faculties involving cognitive aspects and non-cognitive aspects. Cognitive aspects include things such as consciousness, imagination, thinking, intelligence, perception, judgment, language and memory. Non cognitive aspects include things such as emotion and instinct etc. Philosophers and religion answers this differently.

Is the mind part of the body, or the body part of the mind? Are they same or are they different? If they are distinct, then how do they interact? And which of the two is in charge? All these inevitable questions led philosophers to propound theories such as dualism and monism. Dualism is of the view that the mind and body both exist as separate entities. Monism is the belief that ultimately the mind and the brain are the same thing. Some of the most famous proponents of dualism include Aristotle, Plato and the French philosopher René Descartes whose most famous statement “I think, therefore I am” reflects his philosophy. Many experiments done on participants in a hypnotic trance and through unconscious hypnotic suggestion prove beyond doubt mind as the master of the body. The modern views on mind body relationship such as physicalism and functionalism are ramifications and improvisation of the old theories.

Modern psychology accepts the mind is of dual nature – conscious and subconscious. The nomenclature is used differentiate the two distinct functions of the mind. The conscious mind is the objective minds as it deals with all outword objects. It is the reasoning mind and all the decisions are taken by the conscious mind. The subconscious mind is the subjective mind as it takes cognizance of its environment by means independent of the five senses. The subjective mind perceives by intuition. In other words, the subjective mind sees without use of natural organs of vision. Sigmund Freud often used the metaphor of an iceberg to describe the two major aspects of human mind. The tip of the iceberg that extends above the water represents the conscious mind which is just the “tip of the iceberg.” Beneath the water is the much larger bulk of the iceberg, which represents the unconscious. When you fall asleep, it is your conscious mind that is sleeping. However, your subconscious mind will never fall asleep. It works 24 hours a day recording and storing everything, controlling your body, your breathing, your organs functionality, your cell’s growth and everything. This is why even when you sleep, your subconscious mind is still wide awake and is omnipotent. Learning how to stimulate the communication between the conscious and the subconscious minds is a powerful technique for success, happiness and riches. That is why William James, father of American psychology, once said that the greatest discovery of nineteenth century was the power of subconscious mind. It is the reservoir of limitless power which lies in every human being with which he can overcome any problem in the world. Whatever you impress upon your subconscious mind, it will move heaven and earth to bring it to pass. That is why Lord Buddha said.

“What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.”
The same truth was proclaimed by various Holy Scriptures and enlightened seers of ages. Whatever you feel subjectively will manifest physically as conditions, experiences and events. Once both conscious and subconscious mind work in harmony, it will start working wonders for you. Meditation, Pranayama, Prayer, auto-suggestions, visualizations are some the popular techniques for mind control.

There is strong scientific evidence indicating that faith and prayer may help us with experiencing greater health physically, mentally and psychologically. For the major religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, prayer is more focused on something “outside of the self,” so they pray to God while the eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism focus on mediation rather than prayer. Hindus believe Asanas and Pranayama make our body fit for meditation. Studies done of brain activities on prayer and meditation have indicated that people who engage in these activities on a regular basis have a change in the frontal lobes – the area that controls concentration and focus. Whatever you ask through the prayer or whatever you meditate on will manifest physically through the work of the subconscious mind which people say is a part of collective consciousness. Auto-suggestion is the easiest way to reprogramme our subconscious mind. The simplest way to harness the power of auto-suggestion is positive affirmations. These are powerful and positive sentences that we constantly repeat in our mind and heart till they get embedded in our subconscious mind. But the real problem is most of us unknowingly use auto-suggestion to focus on negative things rather than positive ones. Once the harmony is established between conscious and subconscious mind, whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Let us accept a rudimentary fact that our thoughts are the only thing over which we can exercise absolute control. You either control your mind or it controls you. But the task is not as easy as described but it involves years of practice and perfection. That is why the light of Asia said

“A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle.”