Step 8

Mastering the mind leads to consiousness

The inspirational force behind every word in this book is my Revered Guru Swamy Chinmayananda, who was a dynamic, inventive, modern-day exponent of truths thousands of years old that were preserved first orally, then in written form, in a body of knowledge called Vedanta. Although the ancient Vedic ideas are authorless, each teacher who passes them on adds his or her own flavor and texture as He or She wields a particular instrument of transmission the spoken word, a book or poem. Thus, I pass these same ideas along; they necessarily hold some of the flavor of how I first heard them.

Cinema and Gold:
We can think of life as a movie! When we consider what makes up a movie, we generally think of the Actors who portray the parts and the reel of film on which the cameraman captures the drama. But another component is just as important—-the screen upon which the movie plays out. Without a screen as the background, the movie has no reality.

Similarly, the myriad activities of life have no reality without the essential backdrop, “Consciousness”. Just as the movie plays out on the screen, our thoughts and their manifestations, our actions—-play out on the screen of Consciousness. The images on the screen are diverse and changing, but the screen remains the same, unchanged. Whole cities burn, as in ‘Gone with the Wind’; countless people spill their blood, as in ‘Rambo’ and ‘Godfather’, but the screen does not suffer even a slight tinge nor does it get polluted with a single drop of blood. It remains pure, untouched. In the same way, Consciousness remains ever the same, untouched by the dramas played out by our minds and bodies.

Let’s look at Consciousness from another angle.

Open up your family’s jewelry box and pick out all of the gold ornaments in it. Lay out the gold necklace fashioned from tiny gold links, the wide bracelet engraved with filigree designs, the dangling earrings, the small round ear studs, the square cuff links, and the smart tie pin. Every one of those pieces of jewelry is made up of gold. Gold is in every part of every ornament. You can’t say that it accumulates in the clasp of the gold necklace or the centre of the cuff link. It is part of every atom of each ornament. You have a magic magnet; imagine removing the gold from every ornament. As you pull the gold out of each ornament, where does the ornament go? Can the ornament exist without the gold?
You can repeat this contemplative exercise with another example, that of cotton and cloth.

Imagine time stretched out on a horizontal line. At the centre of the line is the present, to the left of that point is the past, and to the right, the future.

You decide that you want to do away with the past and the future and discover the present moment as the centre point flanked by the past and the future. You resolve to slice time down to its smallest component. You begin with one hour to the left of the centre and one hour to the right. First, you slice the hour into a half hour. Then you slice it into a quarter-of-an hour, then into a one-minute segment. Next you slice it into a second, then a micro second, then a nanosecond.

No matter how small you slice your time segment, you can slice it still further, even though no one may yet have invented the words to describe those infinitesimally small fragments of time. Within time, the slicing must continue – because you will never reach the present. When you stop slicing, you are beyond time. You discover that time is but a thought-construct superimposed upon an ever-existing present. That vibrating present is called CONSCIOUSNESS. It exists beyond time.

We have seen several ways in which we can try to characterize Consciousness. I say “try”, because words can never fully characterize Consciousness, since it is the very ground upon which our words play out and the power that fuels them. Trying to describe Consciousness in words, or to see it with our minds, is like trying to see the light of the flashlight after we’ve removed its batteries. But let’s give it a try, because we have only our minds to work with as our tools, limited though they are.

The examples above have shown us that Consciousness can be characterized as follows:
1. .Consciousness is changeless; it is not affected by any change playing upon it.
2. Consciousness is all pervading.
3. Consciousness cannot be bound.
4. Consciousness is timeless.

To reach the purity, peace, and wholeness of Consciousness, we need to roll back the film of our mind. We have to suspend the movie. Every paragraph that follows and every exercise in the book comprise ways and means for learning to become masters over the film of our minds, to become the projectionists in charge. The projectionist can play the film at high speeds or slow. He or She can also stop the film entirely. Once we master the mind, we can at will unveil the peace and wholeness at its core-Consciousness

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