The divine function of pure mind is that of Seeing.
Even amidst a chaotic mind, it’s possible to extract our attention from total absorption in thought and to rest it in and as the observer of that chaos. The very fact that we can see and acknowledge these thought streams is already a big step. It’s the step from identification to witnessing, where we begin to disentangle attention from its tendency to merge with the objects in our field of perception.
However, there is a refinement of the observer, which could be described as a movement into a more subtle layer of consciousness, whereby the subject/object relationship that witnessing is dependent upon is transcended, so that consciousness comes to rest as pure subjectivity, aware only of itself.
It is this awareness marinading in itself that begins the carving out of our busy minds, thus taking us into higher and more subtle states of consciousness. It becomes like a still pool or black hole in the centre of a frantic mind, pulling all noise into silence and all movement into stillness.
To rest as this formless awareness is to begin to extricate ourselves from the many thought patterns that govern our inner world and indeed define our self image. To extricate ourselves from the self image itself is the core movement of the purification of mind. To see the extent to which identification has interwoven itself into the very fabric of thought, like a seed from which all the branches of thought emerge, is the extent to which we are able to deconstruct this story of me.
The very fact that the story of me is so deeply believed in, is what makes possible the clinging to this identity, because without ‘me’ who would we be? It plays straight into the hands of the fear of non-existence. Our insistence on our self image is fuelled by our drive to survive and is made possible by constantly watering (with our attention) the web of thought which confirms our ‘me’. Thought becomes a constant feedback loop to confirm and embellish the story of me and it’s this mental soup that the collective consciousness finds itself swimming in circles around.
However, through meditation and self inquiry there is a direct invitation into the true nature of mind, and indeed the true nature of our Self. These tools are the gateways into that Reality, beyond the story of me, a story that has the potential to completely absorb our attention and thus radically limit our perception.
It’s like living underground your whole life and never realising that there’s a vast landscape filled with light overhead. As we begin to acknowledge that there are indeed tunnels in the earth that lead beyond this cave-like existence, we can pluck up the courage to begin to crawl through these tunnels to see this landscape for ourselves. At first glimpse of the light that shines at the end of that tunnel, we may experience shock, fear and even confusion. Somehow our eyes need time to accustom to this light. It is new and bright and our whole system has been trained to fear the unknown and the unfamiliar. We also meet up with the very real concern that life will never be the same again, for once we surface on this new layer of reality, and realise that there is more to the matrix we have been living in, we know that we won’t be able to turn back; and so begins the process of letting go of the safety of our underworld cave, in favour of a brighter reality.
We can begin this process now, simply by resolving to observe the patterns of our mind – to become acquainted, to become familiar, and to begin a process of self-honesty, whereby we admit and acknowledge to ourselves the reality of our beliefs. As long as we identify with these beliefs there will always be an instinctual movement to protect and defend, indeed strengthen them, which is why it’s paramount to simultaneously begin the process of familiarising ourselves with the reality beyond them. In fact, it can be said that it is only the power that emanates from the light filled landscape that can shine the light of awareness into every dark corner of our psyche, in a way where it actually dissolves what is held there. The mind itself can do nothing. Even witnessing, which is actually a function of mind, has its limitations when it’s not imbued with the power and light of pure awareness, and it’s the recognition of this awareness as our very Self which further imbues it with the power of an irrevocable discernment.
When you truly recognise that nothing that arises within your field of perception is who you are, its value is reduced to mere phenomena, and the need to defend and protect falls away. In the burning light of this clarity, so begins the process of discrimination, whereby we can easily reject any arising belief that points back to the story of me.
The purification of mind is a process of dissolution, of seeing what we are not, and has an entirely different flavour to the flowering of the Heart, or the waking down into embodiment. Reality is multi-faceted, and when it comes to the sharpness of clarity, it is the Seeing through the junk in our head space which counts.
Can you die to the silence? The empty nature of reality awaits …