Our brains have become larger over millions of years of evolution. With the increase in brain size, our jaws have had to become smaller. Bone from the jaw has been used to create a bigger brain. With the evolving size of our brains and the decreasing size of our jaws, wisdom teeth have no room! So, most humans get them pulled out. Did you know they are called wisdom teeth because they don’t arrive until the age we are considered wiser?
In 1804, Lewis and Clark navigated their way west by using the stars, compasses and sextants. They didn’t google map their way to the Pacific Ocean. They relied on natural instincts and wisdom to find that waterway to the ocean.
It’s easy to describe the 3 pound gray and white matter we call the brain. The mind is a different matter. With these bigger brains we have evolved into, what if anything has happened to our minds? Have we become more expansive and more imaginative?
According to Rolf Solvik of the Himalayan Institute:
Yogic scriptures describe the mind as an inner instrument. It stockpiles our memories, manifests our hopes and desires, and manages our daily activities. Yet despite the central role it plays in our lives, we rarely think about the mind itself. Few of us could even easily define what we mean by “the mind.”
Let’s look at a brief anatomy of the mind, categorizing into 4 states:
- Manas – The everyday conscious mind. Through meditation the manas is calmed, with senses quieting and thoughts slowing down.
- Buddhi – The subtle and quiet witness of experiences, developed through a steady meditation practice.
- Ahamkara – Self identity or ego.
- Chitta – The part of your mind responsible for storing habits and impressions.
When you are gifted with a decision, what method do you use to decide? Do you google for an answer to the question? Do you ask your partner, best friend or mother? “Hey Mom. What should I do in this situation?”
A method that I have found to be helpful is to sit quietly, no distractions, and just listen. I listen to my thoughts. I tune into my instincts. I welcome all of my senses into this quiet time. For I am a householder, not a renunciate. I don’t try to stop my thoughts for I know that my body/mind and spirit are in the process of healing through relaxation that is taking place. This is my connection to my buddhi mind. I trust my deeper instincts when I am faced with a decision. I want to add that this takes practice, like playing the piano. There are still times where I don’t like what my buddhi mind is telling me! There are times that my meditation is centered around making a choice and there are times where my meditation is an inward journey into my senses or a breath centered practice.
I bet Lewis and Clark were meditators. I bet their buddhi minds were being used all the time. My guess is they felt the wind in the trees and listened for the sounds of running water to find their way. They had the instincts of animals in the wild 204 years ago.
Are we evolving away from our higher minds, our Buddhi Minds? Gosh, I hope not. I hope we can stay in touch with our natural instincts and imagination like Lewis & Clark did.
Please enjoy this meditation that I have used over the last couple of years when I feel far away from the path to the ocean, when I have lost my way and can’t see the stars.