We have been made to believe that we are powerless and helpless. It is so because of a near total identification with our body as the only reality. Even though we experience thoughts and sensations and feelings and will and faith we do not give much importance to these nature forces within us. Either we lump them together in a general category termed as the mind which being insubstantial is regarded as something elusive that we cannot really develop or control. Or else we assume that since matter and body is all, therefore thoughts and feelings, in fact all our psychological apparatus is a handmaid to the body, a by-product of some bodily reactions and hence not to be given much importance. All our education, all our science unwittingly perpetuates this identification with the bodily self.
But yoga teaches us that the mind and thoughts and emotions and will each has their own independent reality. They may act through the body machine since such is the present arrangement and organisation of nature but they exist even if the body were not. Even our brief-lived desires and impulses do not die with the death of the body. Depending on their strength or weakness, they continue to live for a while and even look for other bodies to express and perpetuate themselves. The body, in this view is more like an instrument or a take-off and landing station. Just as music needs an instrument, just as thought needs a vocal organ or writing ability to find expression, yet the music and the thought exists independent the body so do the forces of desires and emotions and all the rest that constitutes our rich, complex and many-sided psychological and subjective existence.
This knowledge has tremendous practical significance. It means that we can continue to act even after the body falls, at least for some time until the whole energy disperses due to lack of any central will to hold it. But even in its dispersion it goes to the common universal pool thereby either burdening the subtle atmosphere of the earth or else making it lighter and beautiful. A life well lived is not only a blessing when we are physically alive but also a blessing for the earth.
It also means that the psychological forces can disengage themselves from their dependence to the body thereby reducing much suffering and handicap. Suffering is after all our reactions and response to an event, physical or otherwise. By disengaging our mind from the physical event we can stay calm and peaceful even when the body is ill-disposed.
Thirdly and most importantly we can learn to augment and direct our thoughts and will, augment our faith and feelings and channelise them in a way that may help the bodily condition. Right now when we fall ill our mind-energy is also entirely overpowered and we are as if sucked into a vortex. It is much like two persons drowning together simply because one of them is tightly tied to the other one. But if at least one could be free he would be able to help the other. Right now he is only adding to the weight and accelerating the process of drowning. Thus a mind full of fear and anxiety only further aggravates the body’s illness.
Let us therefore cultivate our mind-powers. They are given to us as gifts of nature. All that is needed is to disengage them from the body and train and discipline them to be under our will. If we can do that then we can fare way much better than we presently do through all the difficult circumstances of our life.