There are seven levels to our existence, from gross to subtle they are: Body, Breath, Mind, Intellect, Memory, Ego, Self.
The Body and breath are the manifest aspects of ourselves, the rest are unmanifest. We cannot touch, taste, smell, see or hear the others, but we know they exist.
We are all familiar with the body and the breath. Would be pretty tough reading this if you didn’t have a body, or were not breathing.
The mind is that which perceives the world through the five senses. While reading this, are your eyes reading it or are YOU reading it? When you hear something, what hears, your ears? Or You? If you wish someone to pay attention to you, would you say “Make your ears listen to me!?”. You will appeal to that aspect of their consciousness that perceives the world. This we call the mind.
We understand stuff with the intellect. The intellect is the discriminatory aspect of ourselves. It decides right, wrong, good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant. The memory is the storehouse of all our past experiences. These two play with each other and make you want or not want something.
The memory remembers fire = burn = painful. So the intellect warns you when you are near fire to be careful. The memory remembers Gulab Jamun = tasty = feel really good. So the intellect says go ahead eat it! They make you averse to something or crave something. So the intellect and memory decide how you respond or react to external stimuli.
You are not a random collection of cells, muscles, tissues put together for someone’s entertainment. There is someone sitting in here, in this body. As you read this, notice “YOU” are reading this. This “youness” is Ego. The Ego is the sense of “I am”. “I exist”.
The Self is that aspect of You which remains untouched by anything. The unchanging aspect of Your system.
The first great Sentence is that “Everything is changing”. But to recognize change, there needs to be some place stable, unchanging from where change can be percieved. This is the Self, and this is where all meditators aspire to get to and rest within.
There are four states of consciousness. The first is Awake state where mind, memory, intellect and ego are all active.
In the Sleep and Dream state, the mind and intellect shut down, the memory and ego are still working. That’s where the dreams come from and that’s how you do all sorts of crazy stuff in your dreams, because you don’t have the intellect telling you good, bad right, wrong… There is no discriminatory impulse in a dream. But you know YOU are dreaming or that YOU are sleeping. So the Ego is still active.
However in the Meditative state of consciousness, the mind, intellect, memory are all inactive. They all shut down. A very faint Ego remains – Just an almost imperceptible sense of I am here – and an absolutely euphoric experience of Bliss, of utter relaxation. This experience of the Infinite while still being in the very finite body is meditation.
But understanding meditation?
For understanding anything, the intellect has to be active. To understand what you are reading right now, your intellect has to be on. Notice how you go yes/no to what’s written here according to the stuff stored in your memory.
To understand the majesty and grandeur of the Self, you would require the intellect to be active. By definition, to meditate, the intellect needs to shut down.
So, it would be an exercise in sheer futility to try to understand meditation.
Anyone can meditate. No one can understand what it is!
By: Bawa N Dinesh