The five senses exert a great influence over the mind and occupy its attention most of the time. They are directed outwards, to the surrounding world, and the mind follows them. However, there are times when we disregard the outer world, and live in an inner world, usually some kind of world that the mind makes up. This is the world of daydreams and idle thinking.
However, in this article I am not referring to the inner world of the mind, but to something beyond it. I am referring to a state of consciousness without thoughts, when one becomes conscious of his real being.
This consciousness exists twenty-four hours a day without any interruption. Everything takes place, happens and arises within this consciousness. To understand and experience it, we do not have to create it, travel anywhere or arrive somewhere. There is no such thing as reaching or developing this consciousness. It is not an outside thing or state that one has to strive to reach. All we have to do in order to be aware of it is to silence the mind and its constant chatter.
Some may manage to get a glimpse of the consciousness referred to; some get more than a glimpse. It should be understood that it is not a state or a level to be reached, nor something supernatural. The state I am talking about is our birthright. We are it. Without it we do not exist.
The mind and its thoughts hide the inner world of consciousness. The outside world occupies the attention and does not let us dive in and experience our real and pure consciousness. It is only when the mind is quiet and silent that we become aware of the consciousness of the inner world.
We are very busy with the mind and its thoughts, giving them our full attention. We are completely immersed in thoughts and sensations that we forget our real consciousness. It is like someone who forgot that he is wearing colored eyeglasses, and believes that the world is as seen through these eyeglasses.
The inner consciousness is on a higher level than the mind, and therefore the mind cannot particpate in it, and cannot know anything about it. It can only guess about it. It is a great instrument, but it has its own limitations.
As mentioned before, it is only when the mind becomes quiet, that we get a glimpse of this inner silence, this great Eternal Consciousness. By performing concentration exercises, by meditation, by imposing inner silence on the mind, the clouds of mind disperse and do not hide the bright sun.
Thoughts, and the tendency to follow the senses outwards, towards sense objects, are the obstacles to seeing the bright inner light. It is only when the fog disappears that we can see the landscape. It is only when there are no waves in the lake that we can see the bottom. Making the mind quiet is the way to see the bottom, the base, which is pure Consciousness, our inner world.
Sometimes we get a glimpse of the inner world, even if our mind is not trained. Anything that stops the thoughts for a while, can cause this to happen. Looking at a beautiful painting, watching beautiful scenery, being out in nature, or experiencing some deep feeling make the mind quiet for some time.
At these times the mind relaxes, and for a little while thoughts and the five senses cease to demand our complete attention. Left without our demanding thoughts and senses, we experience for a little while a different, free kind of consciousness. You too, have certainly experienced these moments.
The inner consciousness is at the background of everything and is present in everything. It is formless, and we cannot hold it, measure it, or confine it. We cannot deny its existence, because it is our very own life.
Sometimes it may appear that there are different levels or degrees of the inner consciousness. It is the degree of quietness and silence of the mind that determines how deeply we experience it. Some people may be more aware of it, and others less aware.
The stronger the power of concentration and the ability to silence the thoughts, the more a person becomes conscious of this state. It may seem to come and go, but it is the mind that arises and subsides and covers and uncovers it. The coming and going is of the mind, not the consciousness. In time, this state may be experienced not only occasionally, during meditation or in a retreat, but always, everywhere, and under all circumstances.
The silence of the mind that one experiences, while being aware of the inner world is a not the silence of lifelessness. In this silence there are power, life and light. In it, everything looks great and fine. The inner silence is not a state of vacuum. When it is experienced, inner happiness, joy, and a sense of power arise. One also experiences a fuller, greater consciousness and awareness. When the sheets and covers of the mind are removed, we feel that we are in contact with everything in the universe, and that all consciousness is one.
Spiritual awakening is one of the attributes of becoming aware of the consciousness of the inner world and managing to experience it. In this state, thoughts, worries and fears stop disturbing us. They may continue to appear, but they will be powerless to influence us. We acquire the power and ability to deal with them quietly, calmly, and efficiently.
The awareness of the inner consciousness helps to stay calm and undisturbed under difficult and trying circumstances and situations. Just think how it would feel not to be disturbed by news, difficulties or hardships, and to enjoy constant inner joy, happiness and peace of mind.