Mind: The Double-edged Sword

It is paradoxical that the very faculty which raises us to the level of humans from being mere animals, is also the foremost impediment in realizing our own divinity. This is the message repeated by enlightened beings time and again, be it Shiva, Buddha or Patanjali: drop the mind. But how can something that elevates us to consciousness stop us from reaching the super-conscious state? It doesn't seem logical.

The answer lies in the mind itself. It is in fact absurdly logical. By its very nature, the mind collects, questions, analyzes, dissects and even fabricates information. The tool most often used is logic, which again is a creation of the mind. Now, to understand our true nature, the very essence of our being, it is necessary to look in. Surely I am not just the body, there is something beyond, something more subtle, which is so obviously missing in a dead person. What is this quality which makes a living person different from one who has just 'died'? The next stop on our so-far logical journey inwards becomes the mind. Most of us if asked what makes us different from at least other living people, would tend to identify with their mind, in all its various manifestations: hopes, dreams, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, values. So mind seems to be a likely candidate: it is very personal, very individual, and infinitely more subtle that the gross body. Here starts the problem.

We are so identified with our minds, and so convinced with our logic, that we start to use our logic to analyze our mind. How can something, which itself is a part of the mind, even begin to understand the whole. Therefore, our very logic tells us that logic is ineffectual when it comes to understanding the mind. It can take us no further. Ramana Maharishi, an enlightened master, presents another beautiful conclusion produced by logic: if I can see something, then surely that something is separate from me. The seer cannot see him or herself. Therefore, if I can observe my mind, then surely my mind cannot be me! Mind is not the observer, but the observed!

As soon as we realize this simple rationale, the role of the mind becomes clear. That which I thought is me, is actually just something the real 'me' is using to process information received through the senses. Who then is the real 'me'? Who is the observer? If this question gets answered, the spiritual journey is over. But the problem is that our logic and our mind refuse to accept defeat so easily. We become caught in circular logic, and again and again try to reach the core of our being by using the mind. This is like trying to fly using a car! It is simply not possible !!

There comes a point in every seeker's inner journey, where he/she realizes the complete futility of the mind. It is good to be curious, logical, even skeptical if it takes you further on the spiritual path, and helps to develop discrimination. This can really help to keep one on the straight and narrow, and not get lost in the maze of materialism. The only requirement is that the sight not waver from the goal, then logic can be used to distil valuable lessons from experiences in life, and to realize what we want versus what society would have us believe we want. Logic in the hands of a mature person can be a great asset. However, there inevitably comes the point where you realize that any growth that is happening is only incremental, that experiences fail to furnish any new lessons and there doesn't seem to be anything more to be done. Instead of a mountain to be climbed, life has become a plateau. Instead of a waterfall, or even a river, life has stagnated into a lake.

This is the point where a decision needs to be made: to become a river and meet the ocean, or continue living as a lake in isolation. But to flow, to fly, to reach beyond what we think is possible for us, it is necessary to shed the mind, and it accomplice, logic. Only when the inner space is cleared of everything else, can bliss and consciousness flower.

Image (c) Gettyimages.com


More by :  Alpana Agarwal

Top | Spirituality

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