Thinking: Negative vs. Positive Mind
If we trace back all ideas and motivations of Yoga, we are always left with the problem of the mind, its definition, functioning and control. Some of the approaches of ancient Eastern sciences might seem unorthodox at first, but are actually not so much at odds with most ideas of modern Western psychology when investigated more closely.
In one of the most basic models, we think of the mind as composed of three basic functional departments: negative, positive and neutral. The first two are very well known to everybody: It is the mind talking, “I shouldn’t do this” (negative), “I could do that” (positive). The negative mind is warning, protecting and saving us from harm, the positive mind is encouraging us, seeking opportunities and pushing us forward. They work in a setting of polarity and opposition and can be exhausting to engage with at the same time, back and forth.
You might have had the experience already that these two impulses are often not leading to a satisfying answer or decision or to really knowing what is right and what is wrong. They are supposed to inform the process to get there, but they cannot replace the third entity, the neutral mind, which is connecting us to the right solution.
The Neutral Mind: Meditation & Sixth Sense
The neutral mind is usually not as vocal and busy as negative and positive mind, but more subtle and more likely to come as a vision or a sudden sense of knowing. For certain problems, a little bit more time might be required to bring you to the solution after the workings of negative and positive mind have been completed.
The neutral mind is very much linked to what is often called the sixth sense (connected, in turn, to our pituitary gland, third eye, ajna chakra), and also to our heart centre. The neutral mind is also called the meditative mind, because it is nourished, strengthened and awakened by any kind of meditation.
Mind & Meditation
“Meditation is a state of no-mind. Meditation is a state of pure consciousness with no content… When thinking has ceased, no thoughts move, no desire stirs, you are utterly silent – and that silence is meditation. And in that silence truth is known, and never otherwise… And you cannot find meditation through the mind, because mind will perpetuate itself… Meditation is the awareness that I am not the mind.” – Osho, The Orange Book
“The idea that you are ‘doing a meditation’ can be quite an obstacle… Meditation is not a doing, it is the realisation that you are, a realisation of being.” – Eckhart Tolle
“It is not the meditation that stops the mind. It is the surrender of the mind to the soul, and soul to truth. It is if you prefer the word of truth to the word of your own intellect.” – KRI
“Those who aspire to the state of yoga should seek the Self in inner solitude through meditation. With body and mind controlled they should constantly practice one-pointedness, free from expectations and attachment to possessions… In the still mind, in the depth of meditation, the Self reveals itself. Beholding the Self by means of the Self, an aspirant knows the joy and peace of complete fulfillment.” – Bhagavad Gita (chapter 6)
“I think, therefore I am,” says René Descartes; “I don’t think, therefore I am,” the yogi says.