The secret of happiness – Managing the “self”: Part 4

Author Raja Krishnamoorthy / Kitty - Jan 25, 2014

The MIND: The illusion that “I have” or the myth of “MY possessions”

Illusion even as one seeks clarity!

I have my own interpretation of the HINDU concept of the 5 stages of life- also called as the “Ashrams”. Broadly they are classified into,

1.Bala Parvam- the child-hood, 2.Brahmacharyam- the student-hood & learning about life, 3.Grahasthshram- the practice of family-hood, 4.Vanaprastham – the preparing for departure from “Family ATTACHMENTS” & 5.Sanyaasam- the adoption of the total universe as the larger family.

It is interesting to note that each stage has an approval of a way of life, approval about what you can “HAVE” and what you “MAY not HAVE”. This guidance acts as a mature way of leading life thru different stages or phases, from birth till death.

Even as I am writing this article, I am smiling because I suddenly realize the power of the illusion! OMG…Look at my own illusion! I see the illusion being carried in the very first sentence: “I have my own interpretation”, the “I have” illusion, and the possession of an intellectual piece- “my own idea/interpretation”…

Can anything be more powerful a challenge in life than this illusion of “I HAVE”?

Anyway, back to the topic. Why am I dealing with this topic today? The recent weeks have been a period of experiencing great ecstasy in relation to some events and very sad feelings in some other ways. The polarities of these transactional experiences were only underlining the non-controllability of events & experiences in life. I am deeply contemplating on the different experienced situations. I am also wondering as to whether it has anything to do with the monkey called “MIND”, residing within all of us.

Apparently it has!

Understanding the MIND, Thoughts & Feelings:

What is the mind in the first place? Mind is the mythical container, apparently existing inside me, as the place/source/ origin/residence/container of thoughts, ideas and feelings, emotions. Tattva-bhodha, the great vedantic text talks about how it manifests or is experienced as multiple entities. Manam- the wavering mind, Bhudhi- the analyzing decision making intellect, Chintha- thoughtful/ preoccupied/worry some process, and the retaining “memory” and finally the “AHANKHARAM” – which is the “I” thought or THE  SELF IDENTIFICATION WITH THE MIND ITSELF.

In the manifestations of the “mind”, thoughts and ideas are about forms, objects, familiar and evidential realities (physical realities). For example I know what a book is – know its normal form/shape/structure; how it is useful etc.; I understand what is a car is in similar ways; I can relate even to human beings that way! The response to such recognizing is the sense of “I KNOW” or “I HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT”.

On the other hand Feelings and emotions are about non-form (psychological) responses that I encounter inside me, leaving me with a sense of well being/joy or peace or the opposite: ill feeling, sorrow or disturbance. So I interpret the state of such experiences as the state of my “mind”. I say, “My mind is very anxious” or “My mind filled with questions”, or “I cannot control my mind, I am feeling so excited that she is coming home”.

Be it responses to “physical entities” or the non-physical “Psychological” responses, the mind is the mythical container holding those ideas, thoughts or feelings.

The unconscious mix-up:

But I also make my mind, “me” “I” or “MY SELF”. That happens when I say, “I am anxious”, “I am excited”, or “I have a question”. Here the term “I” substitutes and represents the “mythical container/basket” that we otherwise call as MIND. In other words, ‘I” which is normally the reference to the totality of human being that “I am”, becomes the identification with a “small part” of that totality- which is “My MIND”!

This is also the indication that we human beings are almost condemned to “become” our “minds”. “Mind makes the man” goes the saying. “I feel”, “I think”, “I have an Idea” are all considered as the “mind” processes yet the language used is not necessarily “My mind feels” or “My mind thinks” but “I Feel”, “I think” etc.

Strange but true. The phrase “I” substitutes the phrase “MIND”. The process of “Being human”, almost gets hijacked by the process of “Be-coming the mind”. Almost, because logically that does not look feasible ☺

Can a part be more than or equal to the full?

Just to test it out, let me give the benefit of doubt and search in a completely different direction: Is it possible that MIND is bigger than me? Ha! Ha! It is as good as asking if my thumb was bigger than me!

If indeed my mind is a “part” of me, then how can I be justify calling the mind “I”- which is about the totality of this “human being”? The “I” is a greater entity, and the mind is a partial entity of this “I” -just as many other parts of the human being are- like the brain, the heart, the limbs, torso, feet etc. are mere parts of the greater entity “I”. Hence “I” must be more than my mind.

“I” the awareness, is watching the mind- constantly:

Mind is not even a continuous entity, where as I AM a constant entity. Why so?

I am, at one level, clearly seeing that the “MIND” is coming alive from time to time and I am able to also see clearly that the mind does not exist at some other points of time.

I am able to see clearly the presence of the MIND at times (“I am thinking of what to eat for lunch today”) and the absence of the MIND at times (“ My god, I did not know a thing for the last one hour; I was deeply asleep”- Who is this “I” who did not know? Who is THIS “I” who KNOWS that “I” was ignorant about everything for last one hour? Who is this “I” aware when the thinking was happening and also aware when no thinking was happening? ).

In both the examples there is “AWARENESS” about the presence or absence of the mind. THIS “AWARENESS” is the true SELF in action. This AWARENESS, which informs me or conveys to me that (even) the mind is present or absent is the PURE AWRENESS or the true SELF AWARENESS. Pure SELF is preceding the thoughts or the MIND mechanism, and pure self continues to BE PRESENT even when the mind mechanism is working (watching the working) and finally pure self is observing the fact of MIND mechanism not working or mind being absent, for instance, when I am asleep.

Hence pure self is the eternally, continuously, constantly present awareness/ consciousness and mind is a (sort of) container /holder/ basket which conveniently or otherwise floats/comes up in my field of awareness.

But we human beings- grown up adults- seems to do this fundamental mistake: Take the smaller entity called the MIND as the larger entity called “ I” or myself!

To get over this serious error-this life long error – we may need to become child like all over again!

What does it mean to be child like? We will see in the next part of this series soon ☺



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