Following on with our blog series on the koshas, today’s blog post focuses on your Manomaya Kosha or your mental body.
“Hello, my name is so and so and I am a yoga teacher”
If you’ve ever heard a person saying that, you may be surprised to find out that it wasn’t the individual talking, but rather their manomaya kosha. The manomaya kosha is one’s entire mental self. It is the energy layer or sheath that is the container or everything you know, this includes your ego and sense of self. Your manomaya kosha is a construct of everything you were ever taught, your entire perception of the world and all the beliefs that you hold.
Your energy is not you all of you, it’s just a vibration, just like your body is not all of you, it’s just a physical vessel, Only your mind, where you have mentally created your sense of self, is truly you. However, similarly speaking, you are neither your mind or your body exclusively. You are however your soul. Your soul is completely different from your personality, which is actually a construct of your mind. Your personality is the aspect of yourself that is involved with the encounters you experience with other people in your day to day life. It is the aspect of yourself that is responsible for the statements of who you are and what you enjoy or dislike. It is the side of you that encompasses and carries things like attachments, judgements and emotions, the aspect that discovers things about the world you lie in through experiences and comparisons.
When it comes to your soul, however, it is truly ever-knowing and unchanging. It never goes through things like mood swings or phases. It is who you intrinsically are at a very deep core level. It is who you always were and who you always will be. It was you as you were when you were a child, and also who you will be on the day or your death and beyond that, simply put, it is infinite.
Each and every gift that you were put on this Earth to make use of is held within your soul. It is the container of endless and infinite energy inspirations and universal lessons and downloads.
Have you ever experienced a moment of total clarity and wisdom? A situation in which you comprehended and understood something absolutely perfect if you have then know that this was your soul speaking.
In essence, your soul is who you are beneath your layer of personality, it is the genuine and true you that has been in existence since your childhood and before. When you grow to know your soul, you will discover your true purpose for being. That’s not to say in any way that your mind is of no use. Your mental body is of value because it’s what contains both identity and knowledge.
It wouldn’t have possible for me to write a blog had it not been for my manomaya kosha, however to often to many of us are prone to become overly caught up in our mental state, and we begin to disassociate with our energetic physical and spiritual bodies and begin to view ourselves exclusively as our egos, which can lead to us becoming either anxious or completely self-obsessed, as we start to live just in the mind and not in the soul.
Your manomaya kosha is a retainer for all of the mental patterns you’ve accumulated. All the ways that you go about living your life based upon your experience and upbringing. Each of us carries our own stories, which act as the frameworks through which we view the world. Let’s take an example, a person who was raised in an environment of poverty, they may well grow up to have a “ There’s not enough” outlook. This then manifests in them adopting a mindset of scarcity to everything in their life, they may become miserly and greedy, and in some cases, it may lead to them stealing, even though they have enough. Another example could be a person who constantly seeking approval from their peers and parents, they could go through life with the philosophy of “ I need the approval of others in order to be happy”, and as they constantly try to please others before themselves they make unfulfilling life choices
In Yoga, these mental patterns are called samskaras. Your own samskaras could hold you back from attaining your full and true potential. They create a state of illusion which you perceive as a reality when looking at the world. Instead of seeing the opportunities in life, you spend your time focusing on the lack of them, instead of forging your own path you rather follow in the footsteps of others.
One thing to remember is that nobody is free of samskaras, and each person has their own, because everyone perceives the world in their own unique way, based on a variety of things such as cultural conditioning, the upbringing they had, and the experiences they have been exposed to over the years. Remember in order to make changes to the stories of your life, you must first become aware of them notice the repeated patterns in your life, These contain the cues to your own samskaras. In order to change and become free of your perceptions, you must first become aware of them. Letting go of your stories creates fresh spaces in your mind that allow for new creative thinking and a magnitude of possibilities.
When your manomaya kosha is in balance, you feel a connection to your sense of self and your mind. Your behaviour is confident and aware, you are by nature inquisitive and intelligent. You take ownership of your actions instead of playing the role of the victim.
However, when your manomaya kosha is out of balance, the tendency to become self-obsessed and egotistical takes hold and your behaviour becomes unconfident and unsure. Your sense of self either becomes too strong and you constantly put your own needs ahead of others, or it becomes to faint, creating weakness and insecurity.