The Murky Mind post left an open idea I wanted to address. When mind is still what is it that shines through? To answer this I will call upon two Sanskrit terms Cit (pronounced Chit) and Citta (pronounced Chitta). Citta can be interpreted as mind (though that does warrant an extended debate). Cit can’t be translated directly. It is the source of clarity that shines through when the mind is still and contained.
I am not keen on using religious terms, but I take comfort in the fact that the text I am calling on The Yoga Sutra is not a religious text and it dances with grace around the idea of god. God, in yoga and Vedic philosophy has many names & manifestations – one of which is Brahman. Brahman is an eternal unified existence – a greater force from which all consciousness originates. Then there is Atman – a name attributed to the manifestation of Brahman in each and every one of us. Atman & Brahman are one and the same – simply different names used and indicative of different contexts. Atman is that part of Brahman which is in me (and you) – but Brahman has no parts… so remember – context!
Cit is my personal experience of Atman that is within me. Cit is also referred to as the seer (as in that which sees). If you’ve ever practiced any kind of meditation – Cit is that which can observe that your mind is wondering off (since your mind has wondered off – it can’t be the one doing that for you!). If you’ve ever been a situation where you’ve seen “through” a person – realizing something about that person which is not directly stated (this usually happens when mind does not interrupt a subtle channel of perception and communication!) – that too is Cit. Cit can be seen as an intuitive facility.
Cit & Citta (mind) have a kind of love-hate relationship. Cit can be a perfect clarity – but it can’t relate to the world beyond it – it is an isolated existence. To do that it needs Citta. Citta is connected to the world – it can take information in through the senses and act on the world by (for example) manipulating body. So Citta is a life-saver for Cit – but it comes with a price – a price of murkiness. Cit can now relate to the world around it – but sometimes, when Citta develops it’s own ambitions, Cit can find itself shoved aside from the drivers seat. This, according to Yoga, is what we are. A convergence of a potentially integrated, eternal, clear & sweet perception with a murky mind that feeds on and manipulates.
If you recall – the definition of Yoga as put forth in the Yoga Sutra – chapter 1, sutras 2,3,4 is:
1-2: Yoga is the containment of the mind’s activities
1-3: In that moment the state of Seeing remains.
1-4: At other time the activities [of the mind] are presented.
An ad-hoc interpretaion: when the mind (Citta) is settled and not bouncing around feeding on and reacting to everything that reaches it, there is clear perception (Cit). At all other times (which for most of us – is most of the time!) – the mind (Citta) is perceiving an echo of it’s own inner workings – it observes what it expects and wants to observe.