What we resist persists

This week we explore the third layer or sheath, the Manomaya Kosha. Mano means “mind.”  This kosha is the psycho-emotional body, which encompasses our thoughts and feelings. Many would agree that thoughts and feelings can often be challenging to deal with. As the pandemic rages on, national surveys find many people are faced with increased negative thoughts and feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression.

While it is natural to gravitate towards positive thoughts and feelings, and avoid the negative, this kosha invites one to welcome all the feelings. This is of course, easier said than done. The truth is the more we push away the negative, the more it perseveres. This common phrase from the world of psychology sums it up, “what we resist persists.”

The Manomaya kosha reminds us that we are not our thoughts and feelings; we are the calm awareness underneath them. Meditation is a recognized beneficial technique for examining the mind. The Still Lake Meditation builds self-awareness by using the analogy of the mind as a lake. Another helpful strategy is practicing what Tara Brach has coined as RAIN. This is an acronym, which represents steps in a process: recognize, allow, investigate and nurture. I have found this practice helpful in staying with and investigating difficult emotions. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, it is recommended to practice on a regular basis, even with positive emotions. The more the technique feels natural to you, the easier it will be to “go to” when you need it most.

If you are enjoying repeating mantras for the koshas, the following relates to the Manomaya kosha – “Riding my wave of feeling, I sense greater ease in my psycho-emotional being.”

I hope you find these techniques helpful as you explore the Manomaya kosha. Tune in next week as we unpack the Vijnanamaya kosha, the wisdom body.