I received an email some time ago, from a person who read an article about the mind, saying that the article made him feel uncomfortable. The article’s title was, “You are not the Mind”, and it stated that the mind is a tool we use, and is not who we really are.
This person could not accept the idea that he is not his mind. He asked, “What does the word mind mean?
How can it be that I am not my mind or my thoughts?
Who I am I if I am not my mind? I don’t see the difference between me and my mind.”
This idea might seem strange to most people, but not to those that practice meditation or concentration exercises. When you meditate or practice concentration exercises, you get a direct proof that you are not your mind, but a higher power that directs and uses the mind.
When you try to focus your attention on something, it is not the mind trying to focus itself, it is you, some kind of higher power, which is trying to control the mind and fix it on one thought, topic or activity.
Can the car drive itself? No, it needs someone to switch on the engine, put it into gear, hold the driving wheel, and drive.
Can the TV switch itself on and change channels? No, someone else has to do this.
It is the same when you meditate, concentrate or try to control your mind or thoughts. Someone or something outside the mind has to this, and this someone is you, the consciousness-awareness beyond the mind.
For people who have been meditating for a long time, and for people conversant with teachings of Nonduality, this is not a strange idea.
The brain is the physical vessel of the mind. The mind creates thoughts, and thoughts manifest as words. Different thoughts pass through the mind all the time. Can you say that you are these passing thoughts?
Thoughts come and go, but the one aware of them does not come and go. The power that is aware of them is always here. It does not come and go.
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 happy, you will discover that there is some kind of elation and inner peace. You feel happy and alive, but your mind is quiet and not producing thoughts.
When you are in deep meditation, the number of thoughts that pass thoughts your mind drops down. Sometimes, all thoughts disappear. Yet, at the same time, you are most conscious and alive.
In all these above-mentioned situations, it is as if there is a different awareness-consciousness present, peaceful and all embracing.
Your Awareness – Consciousness
This awareness-consciousness is independent of the mind. It controls the mind, and can decide whether to think or not to think and on what to think.
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.
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This awareness-consciousness is always present, but most people allow their thoughts, feelings and desires to hide it. They allow the mind, thoughts, feelings and external factors to affect how they feel, act or think. It is like forgetting yourself.
Discovering the real and unchanging component that is you, the Spirit, makes you feel more alive, strong and energetic. It expands your mind and brings more insight and common sense into your life.
Meditation and concentration exercises will in time, lead to experiencing and 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 resembles a radiant and strong light bulb hidden 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 not the mind. You are an inseparable part of the “Spirit,” of the Creative Principle, but to experience the external world you need the mind.
The mind, thoughts, feelings and habits make up the “ego,” the individual, whom you think you are. This might not be so easy to grasp, since people identify themselves 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 you, is you, and it does not occur to you that you can take it off, and still live and exist.
How to Prove that You Are not the Mind
The act of focusing your mind intentionally on a certain thought, object or activity, and striving to keep your attention fixed on it for a certain length of time, proves to you that you are not the mind. This might not be easy, due to lack of enough focus and inner strength, but can be remedied with practice.
The same thing happens when you meditate.
If, thorough concentration and meditation you can be make the mind quiet, and even silence it, albeit for a short time, it means that you are a power or entity above your mind.
Making the mind quiet enables you to 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, and the only way to prove it is through the means mentioned above.
Concentration, meditation, and learning to direct the mind according to your own will, prove that you are not your mind. Practicing mindfulness has the same effect too.
The mind cannot control itself. There must be some higher power to control it. This leads to the realization that you are separate from the mind, otherwise, how can you master it? It is you, the real you, that is telling the mind what to do.
The ability to focus the mind, to silence it, or to choose the thoughts it thinks, awakens the understanding that you are not your mind, and this is a great step toward self-realization and spiritual awakening.
What can you do to become aware of your Consciousness-awareness and control your mind?
For strengthening your ability to focus your attention and control your mind, I would recommend practicing, at least a few of the exercises, in the book “How to Focus Your Attention”.
For meditation, I recommend you read the articles about meditation at this website, and choose one of the meditations mentioned there.
“Calm Down the Nonstop Chatter of Your mind” and “Inner peace in the Busy Daily Life” are two books with guidance, advice and exercises that will enable you to quiet your mind, master it, and enjoy inner peace.