The Truth Doesn’t Change.
March 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
I admit to some difficulty when trying to figure out what some mean by “mind” as they never seem to take the time to define it. A working definition for me is that mind is where perception and thought, as well as the felt reactions to these called emotions, arise in awareness. In this sense, mind is the stage where our inner and outer life plays out. But in placing mind as the ground of our experience I see where the materialist would then say mind is just the brain, while the idealist would say it is consciousness. In this way mind becomes something other than what was intended by the original definition. But, as I said, it’s just a working definition.
An object is whatever arises in the mind, whether gross or subtle. Gross objects are pretty much our perceptions of the world, like a rock or a tree. Subtle objects are more akin to thoughts and emotions, becoming progressively more refined as we move toward higher orders of thought and compassion.
Standing opposite to any and every object is the subject to all objects sometimes called the self, awareness or consciousness. Self shouldn’t be confused with the ego. Properly speaking, the ego is an idea of an independent self that is felt or sensed to be an object. But, in truth, the self is never an object of consciousness but is ever the subject to all objects.
The ego sense arises when consciousness is confused with the object. The cause of this confusion can be illustrated by comparing consciousness to a body of water like the ocean. The ocean can be blue when the sky is clear, white when there are clouds, grey when overcast or green when it’s stormy. But the ocean only borrows its color from the sky. In fact, the ocean, i.e., water, has no color but merely reflects the color of what is around and in it. Consciousness in its relative state is the same. It reflects the characteristics of that of which it is aware. And just as it is an error to say water is blue green or grey, it is an error to say consciousness is an object. Water has no color. Consciousness has no form.
It’s easy to understand that our awareness of a gross object like a tree is different from the tree itself. It’s not so easy to see the same holds true of subtle objects. When anger arises, for example, we say, “I am angry.” When pleasant sensations arise we say, “I am happy.” But these statements are the result of a failure to discriminate between the object and the self that is the awareness of the object.
In essence, the whole of meditation is simply a means to realize that consciousness is pure and you are identical to pure consciousness. There is a story once told me by a friend that seems pertinent. The story goes that a man went to a mountain peak to ask a famous guru for the truth, which the guru happily provided. But the answer seemed so simple that the man wondered if the guru thought him not ready to receive the truth. So he set off to explore the various religions of the world. He studied Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, the Koran, the Book of Changes and every other spiritual discipline he could find. He practiced chanting, studied koans, prayed and fasted. Finally, thinking himself ready he went back to the guru.
“I’m one of you.” Said the man. “I’ve studied the world over and am now ready for the one truth that will set me free.”
To this the guru only repeated what he said all those many years ago.
“How can this be so?” asked the man.
“The Truth doesn’t change.” Came the reply.
Likewise, you can study and search for some deeper meaning to all the spiritual teachings of the world but in the end it all comes down to one thing. You have confused who you are with your moods, your body and thoughts. But you are not an object or a thing. You are what the first human envisaged when she conceived of angels. You are formless, pure consciousness. And that will never change.