Conscious Management of The Senses
Sense Control as well as Thought Control (by understanding our mind) have everything to do with becoming masters of our desires, not in a life-denying way, but in a way that is life-affirming, being able to enjoy without causing harm to yourself or others.
Why do we need to control our senses in the first place? What is it that makes our senses run around wild all day? Desires for external stimuli.
Bringing our senses under our conscious control - management - requires a purification of our attitudes and behaviours the mind's processes.
We relate to our senses as a parent would to a child. Do you really need that stimulus? If not, then come away from it. We do this with loving kindness and friendliness knowing that it is for our own good.
Unwanted habits require daily reduction
Start with the small, cut down and reduce, steadily taper off your unwanted habits. Congratulate yourself everytime you manage to say "NO" to an indulgence in a bad habit and "YES" to a good habit. Change takes time, patience, and daily practice. Don't feel bad or guilt if you indulge in an unwanted habit. Say to yourself "Ah well, Rome was not built in a day and perfection does not happen overnight."
Above all else perservere on a daily basis, then in time you will be doing things that you thought would be impossible.
The Yogic Model of The Mind, Desire, and senses
INDRIYAS, GUNAS, MANAS, BUDDHISenses, Modes of Nature, Desiring Faculty of The Mind, Discriminating Intellect.
Q: How does the desiring and sensing part of the mind operate?
DEFINITION OF TERMS
|Sense Organs: Sight, Taste, Touch, Smell,
Hearing, Sexual Organs.
The Horses of the senses interact with the objects in the world.
|GUNAS||Three definite modes of nature:
The Perception and Activity of the senses depends upon the Three Gunas.
(Man with the bow and arrows)
|Desiring faculty of the mind-stuff.
The Arrow of each desire is released from the bow of the craving of The Manas.
(Man holding the reins of the mind)
|Discriminating and wise intellect.
The Buddhi knows what is good and bad for us. If the manas will not listen to the buddhi then we get into trouble and experience painful and negative consequences of our craving-orientated activities.
In the picture, the chariot represents the
witnessing experiencer (soul, spirit) of the activities of the mind.
HOW IT WORKS
Depending upon the proportions of the GUNAS within the individual's system, the senses (INDRIYAS) will respond accordingly.
For example: A high proportion of Rajas will excite and stimulate the senses (indriyas) into heightened experience and activity. A high proportion of tamas will dull and depress the senses making them tired, uninterested, bored, and listless.
THE RAJASIC MIND: Is concerned with FULFILLING DESIRE; sensory stimulation and gratification. It is difficult for Buddhi - discriminating intelligence - to control a rajasic mind. A rajasic mind will always swing to the tamasic state. We clearly observe this process in manic/depressives and drug addicts.
THE TAMASIC MIND: Perceives things IN AVERSION; as dull, boring, irritating, annoying, a burden, hellish, confusing, anxious, neurotic, psychotic, or just plain lifeless. In the extreme the tamasic mind is nihilistic, degrading, perverse and destructive.
THE SATTVIC MIND: Is totally subordinate to buddhi. The manas - desiring part of the mind - is completely under control of buddhi. In the sattvic mode the individual is neither concerned with sensory stimulation and gratification or experiencing the negativity of the tamasic state.
THE SENSORY HOMUNCULOS
A homunculos is a scale model of a human being that brings attention to various physiological aspects. In the image above, we see a scale model of a human being with the sensory instruments (lips, eyes, ears, hands, etc..) drawn at a size that reflects how much brain power is dedicated for sensing different bodyparts.
Understanding this may help us to improve the way we manage our senses. For example, we can see that controlling the lips and tongue, and thus all our oral sensory habits (taste, smoking, eating), may be more difficult than controlling our legs.
The two tongues
In Yoga, we refer to "The Two Tongues" of sensual desire:
If we can control these two tongues then we have taken a huge step in sense control. Sense control does not mean "sense deprivation". We are not expecting to live life as if in a prison cell. We are simply identifying that which is not good for us (or too much) and that which is good for us (moderation in all healthy things).
Balanced Moderation is the key
Too much, even of a good thing, spoils us and the experience also. Too little can be said to be not living a wholesome, healthy, balanced life. So we seek, as always, the golden median - the golden balance - The Sattvic Lifestyle.
A simple daily meditation to help us in our sense control is very helpful:
- Find a comfortable place to relax, away from too much noise
- Make sure that you won't be disturbed for 15 minutes
- Close your eyes and do a couple of minutes of relaxation breathing - making the outbreath twice as long as the inbreath
- Just relax and make sure you just sit and refresh for the 15 minutes
- If your mind rushes for sensual gratification then just say "Not at the moment, maybe later."
- When the meditation time is finished then just see where your senses are leading you, attempt to manage them and be sensible
- If you do this meditation daily, then your strength over your senses increases. The meditation is a source of strength that you can use to your advantage.
- Also in meditation, we can concentrate on the feelings of peace and joy, inner qualities that do not have to relate to outer experiences. Even if we taste just a little peace and joy in meditation, then we will be less inclined to run after sense pleasures, as the peace and joy is better than the sense pleasure.
Pratyahara: Sense Control
Pratyahara, or sense control, is the fifth limb on the Tree of Yoga. It means keeping a check on your senses.
Take care of your intake; physical, mental, and emotional. Check carefully before taking anything in through the senses. Ask yourself, "Is this good for me? What part of me wants it? The tongue or the tummy?".
Be mindful of your output from any of your chakras, communications, and behaviour. Ask yourself, "Am I about to say a harmful thing? Is my behaviour harmful, deluded, or viceful in any way."
Every country has Border Control Officers at the places of entry and exit. You have a country here - the individual (body, mind, heart, and soul).
There are many places of entry and exit:
We need to post some Border Control Officers at each entry and exit to ask "Friend or foe? Will this be good for the me? Will this be good for others? If not, then no entry or no exit."
It is good practice to post a Border Control Officer at each of our seven chakras, then we are completely covered.
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- The Seven Chakras of The Human Experience
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- Integration of The Seven Centers
- Personality and The Seven Centers
- Psychology Index
- Spiritual Ignorance
- Stages of Human Development