The mind is a strange “thing” – in fact the strangest thing I can ever phantom if I was to compare with anything in my field of experience. Of course it is impossible to compare the mind to anything as “anything” is in fact a subset of the mind, for the mind is the mother of everything, at least in this illusional existence.
Multidimensional, multi facets, multi-whatever you may call it yet words cannot fully define completely the nature of this thing call the mind. The mind can be “seen”, felt, or experienced, from three aspects – total immersion, as an object and finally as simply, the mind.
In the beginning when you are not fully aware of the mind, everything that you experience seems to define an experience of separation – that you and others, or the world, is totally two different things all together. I am here and you are there – so I am always separated from you. Except for the body that seems to be with me all the time, never leaving me, which I refer as “my body”; anything out of this experience is simply not me. When I feel an emotion, say upset, I feel I am upset, instead of I feel upset. I can’t see this distinction in the beginning as I am totally immerse in the emotion, thus the mind. I am the mind, so to speak. Every expression I have about my own experience has a “my”, “me” and “I” attached to it. The mind and I is of no difference – that is what total immersion is all about – fully identified, absorbed in it.
Later when you begin to be more aware of the presence of the mind, which you can only be aware of its functions like feeling, thinking, imagining, remembering etc. – suddenly you’d start to feel that the mind is like something that is separate of you. You view it as an object, as a distinction between “me” as a subject. You no longer perceive mind experiences as “me”. In the past if you were to think, you will experience yourself as “I am thinking”. Soon upon watching the functions of mind long enough, you no longer see yourself thinking but merely as an observer to your thoughts. Still you’d have this lingering feeling as “my thoughts” though it is a little different than the former total immersion where identification with it was pretty real. It has a little sense of being free from it and although still within your experience. Over a period of observation through awareness, soon even feelings become an object – that feeling is been watched by you rather than you are feeling it. It feels like watching an exciting movie on screen – there are times you are totally immersed, forgetting that you are not part of the scene – and so long as you are unaware of it, you are totally drown in its storyline until you wake up from it and realize you are merely an observer to it, and not in it. This second level of experience of the mind is simply that – there is no longer identification with it as you become pretty aware of its functions.
But there are times you may forget and find yourself immerse in it again – that is natural and probably will happen many times so long as you are unaware, but the funny part is that when you are aware, the feeling you get is that you are totally out of it. So if you are immersed in anger, the anger will just totally disperse when you are awake to the fact that you have earlier immersed yourself in it. So your emotions will not be as prolonged as before. There is deeper sense of being free too, in this awareness.
Soon one day, after a long period of seeing the mind’s function again and again, it will dawn upon one that what she has been observing is the mind. Not “my mind” but simply mind’s work. Identification with the mind at this level starts to drop drastically and you will not get too pent up with experiences which you used to identify with in the past. For instance, if in the past experience of I am feeling lonely, at this level, I will experience loneliness as part of the mind’s nature rather than “I am lonely”. You will also start to realize that what is outside you is actually a projection of the mind, similarly with what is within; hence you no longer see any separation in anything that you experience. Any judgment of what is out there is actually ongoing in the mind. You will find that everything, so long as “you” are there, has to do with the mind – your experience. You will even get a glimpse that the label “I am this or that” is no longer as true anymore – that the mind has no “I” or “you” in it – the mind is simply an expression of experience, a bundle of views or ideas, and it does not defines you.
Interestingly it will come a time where you will not see the mind as you anymore. Who then are you? Let the mystery be yours to reveal! Until then, enjoy mastering this journey. All Masters have trodden through this path, a pathless one indeed, and soon will you too, at your own pace and time.