Meditation Monday #42 – How to Meditate: The 5 Koshas (Manomaya)

I swear….I sit down to the computer to write on Monday and what happens? The skies open and the rain falls down! This is the third Monday in a row in which it is raining as I’m writing. Odd since I write at different times of day, but it keeps our theme congruent.

Did you have a great weekend? I have been a little under the weather and went to see the Nurse Practitioner this morning. Nothing major, but it made me want to lay around all day Saturday. I think we’re supposed to have days like that sometimes. However, it makes me bored with my life because I’m so used to doing.

And today is Monday and I’m doing what I can.

I like that phrase and use it often….doing what I can. Why do I like it so much? Because it tells me that I don’t always need to do it all. Hopefully I’ll have a little more of a post on that for you tomorrow. But, for today, what I can and want to do is to talk about Manomaya. Manomaya is the third layer of the body in yoga. Manas is a term often used for the mind, so some people translate Manomaya to be the mental sheath. Others consider the many functions of the mind and split it between the intellectual sheath, which I’ll write about next week, and the emotional sheath.

I found this heat map of the body during different emotions and it made me think about how all parts of you are connected when it comes to emotions. Think about the emotion of anger. Even when I just think of anger my teeth clench and my jaw hurts. My eyes feel like they narrow and my face scowls. I feel hot….red hot.

Now let’s flip the coin and think about love. When I think about love my face relaxes into a state of serenity. My breath heaves in my chest as if I’m full of life. If I think about love for my children I feel warm and relaxed. If I think about love and passion for my husband I feel my stomach a flutter.

Pacheco’s book asks the following questions of Manomaya:

  • How do I want to feel?
  • Which people, places, and activities nurture and balance my emotional life?
  • What does emotional balance feel like in my body?
  • How do I stand, sit, move, and breathe?

I especially like the first and last questions for today. How do I want to feel? It says that we have somewhat of a choice. Think about the exercise I just did with thinking about anger and love. Try it for yourself….think about fear. Think about envy. Think about surprise. What revelations do you have by just thinking an emotion?

How do I stand, sit, move, and breathe? Well, that last exercise can tell me how to answer this question. When I think about pride I smile, I sit a little taller, I move and stand with confidence….my head held high. I suppose if I felt pride I would breathe a little easier. In Chinese medicine and other practices we see that the body is connected. Even if you look at the body from a purely mechanical standpoint you see that there is a kinetic chain and that when one part is broken it effects the efficiency of the other parts.

So, consider this, if I can choose how I feel and in doing so choose how I live, why would I not choose happiness? Obviously it goes deeper than simple choice in some instances, but it’s a jumping off point. For me, today, I choose to look out the window in awe of the rain instead of in gloom. I choose to smile. I choose to sit tall. I choose to breathe easily.

Take a moment to choose an emotion.

Let me know how you live in that emotion.

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