The mind is a sort of mirror by which consciousness reflects its light into the dim world of external objects. This mirror is the first function of the mind, which is called citta (“heart”).

The mind has three other functions too. 

The next function is to create an image of oneself (“ego” / ahamkara). Consciousness reflecting on a mirror, sees an image of itself. The image is not exactly the self, but resembles it, depending on the quality of the mirror. This image inspires a general sense of ambition: “I see myself on this mirror, I exist! So let’s do something!”

The next function of the mind (manas) is called “emotions and desires” or just takes the name “mind” since it is the main function of the whole internal aparatus (antah-karana). The mind develops very specific ambitions, called desires. For example, If the self revealed on the mirror of the ego appears to be a monkey, the mind will then develop desires that go along with that monkey ego. “I want bananas.”

The final function is to recognize objects and other patterns of data. This is called “Intelligence” (buddhi). All the perceptual senses feed their data into the intellect, which sorts it out and makes sense of it. So, for example, when some yellow light comes into the eyes, the intellect sorts it out – recognizing it as belonging to either a lemon or a banana.

The intellect feeds these recognized patterns to the mind. “Hey look we have a lemon here.” The mind then reacts with an emotion. “Boo! I don’t want lemons I want bananas.” Or if the intellect reports a banana the mind reacts with a happy emotion “Yay, bananas!”

The mind then presents its desire to the intellect “I want them.”

The intellect will assess how and if it is possible to get them. This produces more emotions in the mind. If the intellect informs the mind, “they are far up in a tree, guarded by pythons.” Then the mind experiences sadness. If the intellect figures out a way to distract the pythons and climb the tree, the mind experiences elation. 

So all the emotions, desires, ambitions, and self concepts are not in the field-knower (us, consciousness itself), they are in the field – and we vicariously identity with our field by looking at it intently, projecting our consciousness into it via the first function of the mind (citta), the mirror.

One thought on “How We Tick – On The Inside

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