Mind is an important term in spirituality, but our concept of it differs a lot from that in the East. There, mind is considered to be material, not conscious, whereas in the West, it is conceived of as conscious. Sant Kirpal Singh gives the following explanation:
Mind gets consciousness from the soul. It is the soul which recognizes God, not mind. When the outgoing faculties are stilled, mind is at a standstill and intellect also ceases to work – then He will come up. But it is the soul that recognizes God, not the mind. Like knows the like. Mind is material. It is the essence of the negative power. Soul alone can know God. That is why it is said know yourself – know thyself. All Masters have said like that. You are not mind, you have got a mind. You are a soul. You have a body, you have outgoing faculties, you have got an intellect, you have got a mind. It is you, a conscious entity, a drop of the Ocean of All Consciousness. So like knows the like.
Sant Kirpal Singh described the four attributes of the mind:
- Chit. It may be likened to a lake in which countless streams of impressions are imperceptibly pouring in all the time.
- Manas. It is the thinking faculty of the mind which cogitates over such impressions as rise on to the surface of the lake in the form of ripples and waves just as the breeze of consciousness blows over the waters of the chit-lake and sets in motion an endless chain of thoughts one after the other.
- Buddhi or intellect. It is the faculty of reason, ratiocination, discrimination and finally decision, after considering the pros and cons as presented by the manas. It is the grand arbiter that tries to solve the problems of life which come before it.
- Ahankar or ego. It is the self-assertive faculty of the mind, for it likes to assume credit for all the acts done, and thus prepares a rich harvest of karmas that keep one moving up and down in giant wheel of life.