How does the mind work ? What are engrams or samskaras ? How do they influence our being ?

What do I mean by the word, ‘state of the leader’?

A true leader is a person who is ready to take responsibility consciously, who is ready to handle life consciously, who is not constantly dependent on the past or his memory. If you are dependent on your memory, if you are dependent on the past to take decisions, please be very clear, you will be a follower. You cannot be a leader. Responding spontaneously to situations is what I call responsibility. A responsible leader is a person who is able to respond spontaneously to situations, who is fresh and continuously keeps himself alive, who is not caught in the past.

Let us understand how the mind works – how we receive data, process it and make decisions.

For example, you are seeing something through your eye. Of course, you receive information through all the five senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch.

For now, let us take the example of the eye. When you see with your eyes, immediately the file goes to a space called the chakshu , it is just like a Digital Signal Processor (DSP). Whatever you are seeing through the eye is converted to a bio-signal, just like a digital signal file.

This file moves to a space called chitta in Sanskrit which is just like memory in a computer. Here the process of identification starts. For example, you are now seeing this book – the whole file goes to the DSP, chakshu, and the whole file is converted into a bio-signal file, and then it moves to chitta, memory. The memory starts analyzing – ‘This is not a stone, this is not a tree, this is not an animal…’ The elimination process happens in the memory. This process of elimination happens in the memory.

Next, the identification, ‘This is a book,’ happens in the mind or manas. In the mind, you start identifying, ‘This is a book’, ‘It is a book on spirituality’, ‘It is written by an enlightened being.’

After identification, the file then moves to a space which I call ‘ego’, the decision making center. In the ego you start thinking, ‘In what way am I connected to this situation?’ If your past experiences with similar books were good, you decide to continue to read. If your past experiences were not good, if you felt, ‘O, this is not worth it, I felt very bored last time,’ or ‘I read similar books but did not feel any benefit,’ if you feel negative you will decide not to continue reading. The ego decides based on your past experiences. This is the way your mind functions.

Now, the important thing which you need to understand is, the decision is taken unconsciously. If the process happens like this, in a straightforward way, you will not have any problem and things will go very smoothly in your life. Everything will be clear and straight!  But this process does not always happen in a straightforward way. Sometimes things start happening in an unconscious way.

For example, if you were hurt or disturbed by something that was said in a similar book you read before, the moment you see this book, unconsciously that memory will be awakened. You see, in your life, if you are hurt or disturbed in a particular place, or by a particular situation, or by a person wearing a particular colored dress, the next time when you go to that place, or the next time you see another person wearing the same colored dress, you will go through the same low mood even if you know logically that the place or that person has nothing to do with your past experiences. You will have that same memory again in your mind. You will again have that same experience. This is what I call ‘samskaras’ or ‘engraved memories’. These engraved memories distort or disturb your decision-making capacity. You see, if the whole process of the mind map I just described happens consciously, then it is a straightforward and logical process. But due to the unconscious mind, a lot of times, the process is not straightforward.

As I described earlier, we tend to get biased based on our experiences we have had with a particular person or a particular situation. This is the space where politics happens! This is the space where things move illogically. This is the space where the past memories or engrams will be sitting and you do not even know what decision you are making!

Let me give you one more example to give you more understanding of the unconscious mind.

If we analyze logically or consciously, all of you know that smoking is injurious to health. If we follow through the process from eye to the mind, you know clearly that smoking is injurious to health, according to the data collected by your senses. But suddenly, even though logic tells us not to smoke, you decide to smoke, beyond your logic and consciousness. This is where the unconscious engrams are sitting. Even though you consciously know that smoking is injurious to health, when the data moves to the ego, when the file takes a quantum leap, you just decide to smoke. Maybe some memory, or some experience which you had in the past must have made you feel relaxed when you smoked. Or maybe when you smoked during your youth, you may have felt like a hero. So these engrams have been associated with this habit, and suddenly, because of this engram you decide to smoke, even if you consciously know that smoking is injurious to health.

The Eastern mystics and inner scientists have spent thousands of years developing tools and meditation techniques to cleanse us from these engraved memories.

In the same way, many times in your life, even if you know what is right, simply you decide unconsciously because of your engrams. Your life is under the control of unconscious engrams, it is not under your control. You may think that you are taking the decision, but your unconscious engrams are taking the decisions! These samskaras or engrams are the root cause of our behavior. They are the reason why we behave in a certain way with certain people. The engrams tend to cloud our judgments when we have to take decisions. They influence how we accomplish our tasks in an organization. It is these engrams that dictate our productivity, interpersonal skills, teamwork, judgment and all our responses and behavior. But engrams are never understood and more importantly given any importance in the field of corporate training and leadership development. The Eastern mystics and inner scientists have spent thousands of years developing tools and meditation techniques to cleanse us from these engraved memories. These samskaras can be effectively erased through meditation techniques.

Recently I visited one of my devotee’s houses and saw a beautiful one-liner in the living room: ‘I am the boss of this house, I have my wife’s permission to say so!’ Similarly, you may think you are the boss, but your unconscious engrams are leading you! As long as you are caught by these unconscious samskaras, you can never achieve the state of a leader. You may achieve the status of a leader with a lot of suffering and struggle. Be very clear, if you sit in the leader’s chair with a lot of suffering and struggle, you will tend to create the same suffering and struggle for your subordinates! Again and again, your mind will say, ‘When I suffered and struggled so much, why not them!’ You will just reproduce your old mental setup on others. This can be a very demotivating factor in organizations.

source: Living Enlightenment

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