I had been telling my students and friends to stop thinking and let thoughts pass by and not go into it. One of my friends pointed out: “Won’t the brain function deteriorate if we stop using it? And Buddha taught us to never stop thinking.” At that point I realised that I had been confusing my friends & students. What I am trying to convey is not for them to stop thinking but to stop the noise of the mind so that the thinking process becomes much clearer. Therefore I decided to write this blog for clarification.
Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha means Yoga is the cessation of mental fragmentation (Cessation of the wrong turning of the mind in order to establish the mind in stillness.)
In order to be fully aware in this existence, we have to stop the fragmentation of the mind. What is mental fragmentation? Mental fragmentation is a phrase used to describe the mental state of someone who has memories written into their brain from multiple sources at the same time over time, especially for heavy multitaskers. When multitasking, the brain does not store related memories in one place but in small pieces. This causes performance and recall to suffer. One can easily see this when installing software while leaving the other programs running or downloading a bunch of images and storing them in different places all over the hard drive. The computer’s memory get fragmented, much like a brain becomes fragmented. So for example, I am in a Yoga class while doing a warrior posture, I am looking at the person in front of me and thinking “hmm… I wonder where did she buy her Yoga pants, it looks kinda nice.” or ”hmm… sashimi sounds good for dinner.” I am doing my Yoga practice but at the same time I am feeding my brain with different thoughts which will turn into memories at the same time. I am not fully present with what I am doing thus I am cluttering my mind. The mind is everywhere but in the present moment, a busy mind.
Therefore, we need to master our mind. When the mind is thinking or wandering off to thoughts that has nothing to do with the present moment, bring it back. Don’t develop those thoughts into scenarios, come back to the present. Like what the Gurus like to say” Control the monkey mind.” Yoga is about Union, union with body and mind, union with the present moment being fully aware of what we are doing, fully present with our entire being (Mind, body and Soul). In order to acheive that, we need to control our mind. Only when we are able to be 100% present with what we are doing, the mind is thinking of nothing but just that one thought of how to acheive what we are doing at the present moment, stillness, clarity and sharpness will hit the mind and we are able to think clearly, creatively and perfect what we need to produce at that moment. Effort becomes effortless. However, if the mind is cluttered or interrupted by other thoughts, the thinking process slows down, clarity is loss, stress comes in and eventually negativity sets in.
To conclude, in order to start thinking, we have to stop thinking, stop thinking of unnecessary thoughts which has nothing to do with the present moment. Clear and clean up your mind to prepare for efficient thought processes. So get on your mat, start to do abdominal breathing, focus on your inhalation and exhalation, be fully present and aware of your breath and nothing else. Practice for 5 minutes and see how you feel after that and how is the state of your mind. Do you feel dumb or clear and sharp.