The Mind

The Mind

Patanjali’s second sutra speaks to one of the end goals of all yoga practice: to calm the fluctuations of the mind. But what is the mind, and how does it relate to yoga practice? 

Yogas-citta-vrtti-nirodhah
(Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness.)
-Sutra 1.2, Patanjali

Kundalini Yoga recognizes three mental bodies: the positive, negative, and neutral mind. The movement, breath, and meditative techniques work to develop the neutral mind, which happens when we achieve the internal balance and harmony that comes from regular practice. In this state, one is not overly negative nor optimistic but balanced in their perception. 

Kundalini Yoga develops the habit of relating to one’s mind. Through the embrace of physical, mental, or emotional challenges, and the commitment to remain neutral in the face of such challenges, practitioners develop an intimate relationship with their own minds. Yogis regularly sit down with their minds to observe, understand, and ultimately direct them.

The Three Functional Minds

Kundalini Yoga recognizes that the human being is made up of Ten Bodies, three of which are mental bodies. The second, third, and fourth bodies are called the three functional minds: the Negative Mind, the Positive Mind, and the Neutral Mind.

 

Negative (Protective) Mind

Central Question: Can I determine if there is danger in a situation? What do I need to consider?

The Negative Mind gives form to the creativity of your Soul Body with the gifts of containment, form, and discernment. It instills the longing to belong which, in its highest expres­sion, drives one to connect very deeply with their own Higher Self. It gives the patience to obey one’s inner guidance. 

If the negative mind is underdeveloped, that longing to belong can cause inappropriate and self-destructive relationships because of the over-influence from others. Often, this person is not contained in their own center.

Key Concepts:

Motto: "Longing to Belong"

Lessons: Containment, Obedience

Key to Balance: Value your discipline. Develop conscious relationships of integrity.

 

Positive (Expansive) Mind  

Central Question: Am I open to all possibilities that life has to offer? Do I let these into my life?

The Positive Mind relates to the positive essence in all situations and beings. It is by nature expansive to allow resource in. Its gift is the strong will which allows for the easeful and humble use of power. Its gifts are optimism, a good sense of humor, and playful spirit. A strong positive mind makes communication strong and direct.

When the positive mind is weak or underdeveloped, input from the negative mind can be overwhelming—sometimes to the point of depression or paralysis. This can create anger, intolerance, and hesitation. It often comes with a fear of personal power and the responsibility it brings, or a fear that one might abuse it. 

Key Concepts:

Motto: "Devil or Divine"

Lessons: Equality, Positivity

Key to Balance: Strengthen the navel point. Increase your self-esteem. Use positive affirmations.

 

Neutral (Meditative) Mind

Central Question: Do I allow myself to perceive and act upon inner wisdom?

All of Kundalini Yoga works to strengthen the neutral mind. The Neutral or Meditative Mind is the embodiment of "win-win" mentality. From here we look at the whole play of life with compassion. The Neutral Mind evaluates the input of your Negative and Positive Mindsand allows you to access your Soul from an intuitive vantage point.

If the Neutral Mind is weak, decision making becomes difficult. There is a habit of victimization without the know-how to integrate life experiences and find meaning in them. It often becomes hard to see beyond the polarities of life and tune into the greater perspective. 

Key Concepts:

Motto: "Cup of Prayer,” from which you live and give from the heart

Lessons: Service, Compassion, Integration

Key to Balance: Meditate

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