By Remez Sasson
Someone wrote to me a few days ago, saying that he read the article You Are not the Mind, but the article made him feel uncomfortable. He couldn’t accept the idea that he is not his mind. He asked, “What does the word mind mean? How can it be that I not my mind? Can you give me more information about “who I am,” and what is the mind? I don’t see the difference.”
The brain is the physical vessel of the mind. The mind creates thoughts, and thoughts manifest as words. Different thoughts pass the mind all the time. Can you say that you are these passing thoughts?
The mind is composed of the thoughts you think. What happens when you stop thinking, such as when in deep sleep? Where is the mind then, and if you are the mind, where are you? Did you cease to exist?
If you examine the state of your mind when you are very happy, you will discover that there is some kind of elation and inner peace. You feel happy and alive, but your mind is not disturbed by thoughts.
When one is in deep meditation, there are no thoughts, or almost no thoughts, and yet, the one who is meditating is conscious and alive.
In all these above-mentioned situations, it is as if there is a different awareness-consciousness present, peaceful and all embracing. This awareness-consciousness is independent from the mind, always existing, and is the awareness-consciousness supervising the mind. This awareness-consciousness can tell the mind about what to think, and can also stop the thinking process, and enjoy inner peace, with no distracting thoughts.
This consciousness-awareness is you, the real you. The mind is the instrument you use to function and act in the world. If you are not aware of this consciousness-awareness, it is because you never tried to train your mind and discipline it. You never tried to look at it with detachment, and you have always allowed it to become your master, instead of your servant.
Discovering the real and unchanging component that is you, the Spirit, doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, weak or strange. On the contrary, you become more alive, strong and energetic. It doesn’t make you passive. On the contrary, you become more alive, and can do more.
Concentration exercises and meditation, in time, lead to experiencing, and then living, in this “higher consciousness” state. Experiencing this consciousness has always been the aim of many spiritual traditions. This consciousness is always present, but covered by thoughts, worries, fears and desires. It is like a radiant and strong light bulb that is covered by many layers of covers, so that the light is not seen. Your role is to uncover this bulb of light.
The mind and the ego
You are an inseparable part of the “Spirit,” of the creative principle, but to experience the external world you need the mind.
The mind is the “ego,” the individual, whom you think you are. This ego is composed of your thoughts, mind and feelings. This is not so easy to grasp, since people identify with this ego, and live through it. It is as if you are wearing a certain garment, and believe that this garment is part of your body, and is you, and you never realize that you can take it off, and still live and exist.
Proving to yourself that you are not the mind
By learning to focus your mind, you prove to yourself that you are not the mind, but the power that controls the mind. By being able to silence the mind, and enjoy a state of inner peace and calmness, you prove to yourself that the mind is a tool, and that it is not you. This idea is difficult to grasp for a lot of people, and the only way to prove it is by learning to focus the mind, through concentration exercises, and through meditation.
Concentration, meditation, and learning to direct the mind according to your own will, prove that you are not your mind. Can the mind control itself, or does it need some higher power to control it? This leads you to realize that you are separate from the mind, otherwise how can you master it? It is you, the real you that is directing the mind. The ability to focus the mind or stop its activities in accordance with your willpower awakens the understanding that you are not your mind, and this is a great step toward self-realization.
I know this article doesn’t explain and clarify enough what is the awareness-consciousness mentioned here, and what the mind and the ego are. These are subjects, which are not easy to explain in words. I intend to write more on this subject in the future.
What do you think about this subject? You may add your comments below.