Sunday, January 13, 2013

Taming the mind - Part V

The human eye can discern only a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This small slice of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see is also known as visible light. Light is an intriguing phenomenon. It has no mass. The basic unit of light is called a photon, which is a tiny particle of light. Sunlight that reaches earth starts its journey deep inside the sun. There is a continuous stream of light is liberated from the surface of the sun. This light takes about 8 minutes to traverse the approximately 93 million mile journey to earth. The world we see around us in daylight is a result of a continuous stream of light particles striking the photosensitive part of the eye called the retina. When a particle of light lands on our retina after a 93 million mile journey from the sun, its energy is absorbed and this particle of light ends its existence at the back of the human eye.  

The energy generated by the impact of light on the retina sets off a cascade of reactions and the resulting electrical impulses are carried from the photosensitive cells of the retina to the visual cortex at the back of the brain. Here an image is constructed based on the light input that falls on the eye. Although all the image processing occurs at the back of the head in the visual center of the brain, it is projected in front of us giving us the illusion that this image is created in “in front of our eyes.” When our eyes are open to the world around us, the mind can be thought of as a dark auditorium where thoughts are like shadows lurking in the background. These thoughts continuously interpret and catalogue the stream of images that the brain processes every waking moment. When we close our eyes, this dark auditorium like mind changes. The shadowy thoughts that appear to have entered through the back door of the mind, now pierce the realm of our consciousness through the dark space in front of us. 

When an ophthalmologist looks a human eye, the back of the eye or retina appears round and of a reddish yellow hue, resembling the sun just before it is swallowed up by the horizon at sunset. The eyes and the sun are connected in the form of a transmitting station (sun) and a receiving station (eyes). Trillions of light particles generated in the sun, eventually end their existence in billions of human eyes. The white portion of the human eye, called the sclera reflects much of the light falling on the eye, just as the moon reflects sunlight. The white sclera on either side of the round multihued iris takes the shape of two crescents and can be thought of as resembling the waxing and waning crescent phases of the the moon. The name Iris is derived from the Greek Goddess of the sky and the sea. According to Greek Mythology, the Goddess Iris travels along a rainbow and carries messages from the gods to earthly mortals. The earthly human iris is connected to the heavenly sun through a continuous shower of light particles.  

The three celestial objects that are the main supporting structures of life as we know it, are the earth, moon and the sun. These can be symbolically represented in each human eye as the multicolored iris (earth), the white sclera (moon) and the reddish yellow retina (sun).  

Cosmologists contend that prior to the existence of matter, there was a flash of light, commonly referred to as the Big Bang. This primordial flash of light spread throughout the expanding universe at fantastic speeds. Some of this light that came into existence long before matter originated and started organizing itself into our earth, sun, moon and other billions of stars and galaxies, is currently present in the far reaches of the ever expanding universe.

Another intriguing property of light is duality. Light travels a particle. It can simultaneously oscillate like a wave, similar to a sound wave. Human existence also exhibits its own version of duality. The physical body is like a discrete particle of light and the coexisting human mind is like a diffuse wave of light. Just as the wave and particle forms of light coexist and are inseparable, the physical body and the its associated mind are interlinked.

The two eyes can be thought of as representing this duality of human existence.  Our minds are an extension of our eyes. Without the mind to interpret the images that the brain generates, the visual apparatus is just like a camera taking pictures. Just as light has no mass and represents energy, thoughts have no mass and they are manifestation of mental energy. The concept of duality also extends to our thoughts in the form of negative and positive thought expressions. In the context of day to day living, the mind can appear to be a dead end. Energy from the outside world enters the mind through the senses, and the output from the mind leaves us via positive or negative actions. During sleep, we get a break from this cycle of positive and negative thoughts being expressed as corresponding positive and negative actions. A different state of mind is active when we are asleep. The mind is active during sleep and continues to be linked to the body, even though we are unaware of this. Dreams interrupt our sleep and we “see” light even when everything around us is pitch dark. The origin of this dream light is mysterious and and has no connection to light from the outside world. When we are involved in dreamscapes, everything seems very real, just as everything seems real in the waking state.  

We take the light and images originating from the outside world as being reality. Although dreams can appear very real, consider these images unreal. Let’s say that you are sitting and watching a beautiful landscape in the backdrop of a setting sun. If you look at the scenery with intense concentration memorizing all the colors, textures and shapes, you may be able to mentally reproduce a similarly breathtaking landscape behind closed eyes. If you are able to hold that image for a length of time in your mind’s eye, would you consider this image real or unreal? If you consider the landscape that you see with your eyes open as real, no matter how intense your focus and concentration, it changes and melts before your eyes as the sun sets and the evening light disappears. If you consider the same landscape that you are able to mentally reproduce and with your eyes closed as unreal, as long as you are able to keep your focus and concentration, the light of the image will not change or diminish in intensity. What we consider to be real changes and disappears before our eyes and what we consider unreal can be kept unchanged with even with our eyes closed. The outer reality can be kept alive as long as there is light striking our eyes. Inner reality does not depend on this external light.

Most people find it very difficult to sit with their eyes closed even for a few minutes. Thoughts come and go in rapid succession diluting and changing the mental focus that is required to sit still. When light interacts with matter, energy is given out. Einstein won the nobel prize for describing this phenomenon called the photoelectric effect. When thoughts interact with the body, energy is generated. This energy that is generated makes it difficult to keep the body still. This energy generated from a restless mind seeks a release in the form of bodily movement.

A peaceful existence depends on a quiet mind. As long as one identifies with the mind, one cannot do away with thought. Similarly as long as one identified with the body, one cannot do away with physical pain. One loses identification with the body is states of deep anesthesia and no pain is felt even when a surgeon opens the heart and repairs the damage inside. Mind can be distracted by moving it from one thought to another, but the mind cannot be denied. A still mind does not mean a mind that is devoid of thought. An agitated mind does not mean a mind that is full of thought. In a still mind, frequency of vibration of thought is very low and and this frequency does not disturb the sense of peace. In an agitated mind, the frequency of vibration of thought is very high and this created a lot of friction in the mind and this mental friction can cause great harm. When electromagnetic energy vibrates in the frequency of visible light, that light is beneficial to our existence. The same electromagnetic energy vibrating in the frequency of x-rays or gamma rays can be harmful to the human body.

Guided Exercise
To be done with closed eyes and mental visualization

Close your eyes and imagine you are in transparent globe slowly moving further away from the surface of the earth. As you leave the surface of the earth, the rough and irregular terrain that you see close up while standing on the surface of the earth appears smoother as you travel further up in the sky.

The terrain that appears as rough represents unhappiness and the same terrain that appears smooth terrain represents happiness. Although the terrain has not changed, the distance from it creates an illusion of a smooth or a rough terrain. This terrain is visible only as long as light falls on it. The happiness or unhappiness in the mind exists as long as the energy of the world enters the mind in the form of light, sound, smell, taste and touch. The sense of pleasure or pain recedes when the mind turns away from these five energy streams.

The further away the mind is from this worldly energy, the less it is affected by it. Distance yourself from whatever events of the day that may have caused you to be happy or unhappy by mentally moving your attention far away from the events of the day.

As you mentally ascend further up in the darkness of the space in front of your closed eyes think of the solar system with the sun in the center and the various planets and moons moving around the sun in the silent vacuum of space.

Once you have formed an impression of the sun and the planets revolving around it, think of three spherical structures that matter the most, the sun, the earth and its moon.

Think of the planet earth as a beautiful round marble with its blue oceans breaking up the brown landscape. Think of the moon as a white dot that is dwarfed a giant yellow sun.

Imagine the sun, moon and the earth silently merging together taking the shape of an eye. The earth forms the colorful iris, the moon forms the white sclera and the sun forms the yellow retina.

Think of soft blue, gold and white rays of light emanating from this bright and shiny mental eye of your creation. Pretend that this mental eye is a tool that helps you look deep inside your mind.

Use this mental eye to roam the vast depths of your mind. As your mental eye looks within, thoughts dance around like tiny dust particles that randomly move around in a beam of sunlight trickling into a dark room.

In the safety and privacy of your own mind, be true to yourself and yourself alone and shine your mental eye on the some of the conflicts and shortcomings that may reside in your mind. These latent thoughts may surface later as anger, desires, frustrations and other negative emotions.

Try to come face to face with some of the conflicts and negative feelings you may have experienced in the past. As these conflicts are faced head on, observe them without reacting.

If these internal conflicts stir negative emotions, ripples travel and disturb every part of the mind. Stirring up of negative emotions after facing your inner conflicts is a form of violence that is self inflicted deep within the mind. Mentally resolve not to inflict this harm on yourself.

Honestly evaluate what you see deep within the mind, without importing ideas that may be floating on the surface of the mind.

Tell yourself that you are combing the deep recesses of your mind with a sense of detachment to whatever hidden emotions, desires or frustrations that you may encounter.

Underlying all this in the depths of the mind, far away from external compulsions, rational thought and ego, lurks the underlying purity of mind. Imagine yourself scooping up a handful of this pure, calm mind. Make a strong resolve to carry this purity and calmness into the waking state.  

Establish yourself in the thought that you are not the mind or the body but are looking at the mind and body from a higher reality and the mind and body are tools at your disposal to spread peace and happiness all around. Gradually come back to the surface of the mind wishing happiness and prosperity to everyone near and far.