How to bring life back into harmony.
There are four dimensions to human life. These are the mind, the body, the external world, and the inner realm. Of these, only the external world is a collective experience, while the rest are individual. Within these four pillars of life, we either rise to our full human potential, or we remain ordinary.
There are four dimensions to human life. These are the mind, the body, the external world, and the inner realm.
Everyone has a unique set of talents. It is up to us to discover them. The mind and body are the vehicles of expression, and the two are available to each individual. We can enhance the mind with external knowledge. However, to sharpen it and strengthen its clarity so it may reflect our true potential, we need to explore the least understood dimension, the inner realm. This exploration can only be done individually.
The mind and body are external facing. They cannot directly help in the understanding of the inner realm. However, they are well suited to interacting with the outer world. For this, we don’t need to expend a lot of effort into discovery.
The mind and body are external facing. They cannot directly help in the understanding of the inner realm.
There is so much information already in the collective human intelligence. With the ease of a finger tap on a hand-held screen, we can access information instantaneously. As information storage shifts from memory to books to an intangible electronic medium, the internet, we fill the void in our memory bank with more of our interpretations of the world.
The interpretations of experiences we encounter become “garbage information” once the experience generating the interpretation passes. All it does it to add to the inner cross-talk between thoughts. Life talks to us through silence. There is a deep-seated feeling of incompleteness. Hence the seeking in various forms. Some go for wealth, others for power. Even exploring the higher is on account of this feeling of incompleteness.
Life works in silence. The mind does not. Whatever little silence that the mind entertains, we quickly fill that space with our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The net effect is that the mind gains a monopoly over our waking consciousness. This leaves little or no scope to dwell on the missing dimension, the inner world.
This inner dimension will remain mysterious and poorly understood as long as we approach it through the mind. The mind is best used as an interface with the external world.
How then are we to contact the inner realm?
If we leave the mind aside, by not interacting with thoughts, not recalling from memory, and not creating new thoughts through interpretations, we may encounter a vast but dormant space within our being. This space is not reachable through thoughts, ideas, or knowledge of the external world. There is nothing mysterious or secretive about this space. It is the space in which every thought or idea arises, and where we suffer or enjoy the coming and going of experience. It is present in everyone.
To bring this space into a direct experience, we need to turn on the switch of awareness. We are aware of what is happening in the mind only as a participant of an experience. This awareness exists only on account of our identification with experiences and is a lower form of awareness. It is an unconscious response. Such limited awareness makes the mind a highly relative place.
We relate to thoughts, ideas, and experiences from the memory of other thoughts, ideas, and experiences. We corroborate or refute them, and in the process, we either enjoy or suffer. Like a boomerang that always returns to the sender, we keep returning to preset habits and conditionings.
Like a boomerang that always returns to the sender, we keep returning to preset habits and conditionings.
If we withdraw our participation with thoughts, ideas, and experiences, they will continue to come and go even without our direct involvement. However, by doing so, we interrupt the endless loop in which our limited awareness unconsciously flows. We suddenly become conscious of separateness between us and the mind.
As we begin to watch the mind from a distance, it may take on a new flavor. When there is no one to bring anything back from memory actively, it adds freshness to the mind, which then has a chance to join the stream of the present.
As we begin to watch the mind from a distance, it may take on a new flavor.
Without old information to contaminate the space within the conscious mind, we may become aware of new insights that flash on the screen of the mind. These are not generated by the mind or recalled from prior information but appear to come from nowhere.
That “nowhere” lies more in-depth than the subconscious world of dreams and memories. The subconscious mind is like an impenetrable wall that makes the inner realm appear like a dead end.
Awareness makes the impenetrable subconscious mind porous. The more we practice awareness, the more we drill through the subconscious. Awareness is a power that lies within all. Just as the senses connect the mind to the outside world, through awareness contact is established with the inner realm.
Awareness makes the impenetrable subconscious mind porous.
The mind can fathom space as a contiguous entity. The eyes can see this continuity. However, space within, which contains the mind and its contents can only be experienced in awareness.
The mind serves as a convenient practice tool to build the faculty of awareness so that it becomes an experiential reality. Without inventing an idea or a thought or holding a prior experience as a focus of concentration, we can grow the ability to become aware. This happens when we relax and allow the mind to subsist on its own.
Within the mind’s vast ecosystem, there is plenty of accumulated material that can keep it churning for a long time. To focus on a particular thought or idea requires concentration. Concentration is useful as a means of focusing the mind’s energies. However, we cannot build awareness through pure concentration.
Within the mind’s vast ecosystem, there is plenty of accumulated material that can keep it churning for a long time.
Awareness comes about through relaxation. Ordinarily, we are looking at the rest of the mind through the “pin-hole” of a particular thought or idea. This requires effort. We can apply the same energy towards looking at the mind, not from the vantage of thought or opinion but in totality.
When we become aware of the mind as a separate self-contained ecosystem, the perception of a distance that awareness creates may make us feel like we are in no man’s land. It is bound to be uncomfortable at first, without familiar memories and experiences to lean on and provide support. In essence, we are on our own in new unchartered territory.
After the initial shock of the separation from the mind passes, we may encounter a strange familiarity with the experience of being aware. We may say, “It’s not so bad after all.” Awareness is not withdrawal or falling away. On the contrary, we find ourselves on firmer footing.
Compared to a dream, the waking state feels more real. However, this waking reality is fleeting, just like a dream. There is continual ebb and flow of thoughts. When we begin to witness the transitory nature of thoughts, we recognize the foundational space in which the alternate the dreaming and the waking states play out.
When we begin to witness the transitory nature of thoughts, we recognize the foundational space in which the alternate the dreaming and the waking states play out.
As we grow in awareness, we begin to touch the fourth dimension, the inner reality. While this happens, the other three aspects, the mind, the body, and the external world, do not disappear. Awareness gradually melts the subconscious collection of thoughts, experiences, and memories.
Awareness causes inner “warming,” which initially floods the conscious mind with stored memories and experiences. However, as the internal melting continues, the conscious space of perception becomes more open and free. It interrupts and ultimately stops the self-perpetuating process of adding to the subconscious collection of thoughts.
As awareness creates and broadens the gap between us and the mind, any new material cannot quickly enter the subconscious mind. Awareness acts as a brake on the mind. Less we interpret old or new information that occupies the conscious mind, the more room we create for the mind to burn its contents sequestered in the subconscious mind.
Practicing awareness will not cause a sudden and dramatic shift in the mind. Instead, it results in a slow and gradual change. This requires a tremendous amount of patience to stick with practicing awareness. When we practice awareness with the mind as the object, it has twin benefits. One, the practice of awareness itself strengthens and deepens. Second, the old mind gradually disappears.
A sustained period of awareness “penance” gives us a sharp, energetic mind with crystal clear clarity. The mind becomes like a two-sided mirror. On one side, the external world reflects, and on the other hand, the inner world reflects. Awareness takes neither side. It links the fourth dimension, the inner realm, with other aspects (the mind, the body, and the external world).
The inner realm is the most critical dimension.
The inner realm is the most critical dimension. When the connection is strengthened through awareness, the other three aspects become stronger. We can do more for the world, and every experience becomes enriching, which ultimately makes life meaningful and fulfilling. When we are in awareness, we are not afraid that the show will end. There is a profound realization that it is just the beginning.