Overcome The Effect Of Vritti

By Rudra Shivananda

Human suffering is due to our identification with the vritti or fluctuations of the mind. Vritti can take the form of thoughts, feelings, emotions and abstract concepts. It is the vritti which binds us to an object – when one identifies with the vritti and through the vritti with the object. Suffering arises when one identifies with the vritti of his or her physical body and consequently with the physical body itself – “I am this body!” When someone else’s body is diseased, one does not feel the pain but when one’s own body is sick, the one thinks that “I am sick,” due to the ego identifying with that body.

One method of overcoming this effect of vritti is by the method of Silent Witnessing (Sakshi Bhava). There are two modes of practice:

1. Dedicated practice – sit as in meditation with back straight and body relaxed, watch your thoughts, feelings and emotions without identifying with them. Do not try to stop them but try not to react to them either. It is as if you’ve split yourself into two selves – one that is having the vritti and the other one is the silent witness who only watches with awareness.

2. Daily activity practice – this is a more advanced technique when one becomes the silent witness during all of one’s activities such as driving, walking, talking, working, bathing, brushing teeth, eating etc. It will be easier if one practices initially for a short time such as during solitary meals or morning toiletries rather than during talking or interaction with others. As you become more proficient, then you can include more complex tasks.

07art_Yogananda2It is said that Yogananda encouraged his disciples to go to the theatre and watch movies so that they could experience the world as merely another projection of the divine mind. However, we often get emotionally involved with the characters or activities in a movie and start identifying with them. Success in Sakshi Bhava requires identifying with the spirit or atman and not the body or mind – this overcomes the ego’s identification with this body vritti generated by the mind. During the practice, you become the Sakshi or silent witness and watch your other self
as if appearing in a movie. This practice first loosens the grip of the ego, lessens the suffering of mis-identification and increases peace and contentment.

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