Definition - What does Mind mean?

The mind is defined as the sum of the cognitive abilities that enable consciousness, perception, memory, thinking, imagination and judgment. It may also be defined as the conscious and unconscious mental activity of a person.

Scientists, philosophers and theologians have sought to understand and define the mind and its properties – specifically, whether it is separate from the brain and physical body or a part of the brain.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes yoga as the practice of quieting the fluctuations of the mind.

Yogapedia explains Mind

Many religions associate spiritual qualities with the mind -- often those that are connected to the self, salvation or the afterlife. In the practice of yoga, techniques such as pratyahara (the turning of the senses inward) and dhyana (meditation) quiet the mind so that the body's response improves and stress is reduced.

Of the eight limbs of yoga mentioned in the Yoga Sutras, three involve quieting the mind's fluctuations to reach oneness with the Self or the Divine:

  • Dharana (concentration) – the practice of maintaining a single focal point.
  • Dhyana – contemplation of the spiritual and clearing of the mind in preparation for samadhi.
  • Samadhi (union with the Divine) – the merging of the mind or spirit with the higher power.
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