One’s perception defines an object. The object remains in its inherent existential nature but the state of vibratory frequency that one is in, defines the object, giving it colour/state/definition. Different persons will perceive the same object differently. How someone perceives an object depends on one’s mental condition/state of affairs. The object is independent of the perceiver and perceiver’s mental-physical state. In fact, object is un-affected by the presence or absence of a perceiver (Patanjali Yogasutra, 4.15/4.17).
So, what influences one’s mental condition that same object is perceived differently by different minds?
Transcending multiple minds
As per the yogasutras of Patanjali, our gunas, that is the qualities, characteristics and energies that one is in, influences one’s perception. These three gunas are sattvick, rajasic and tamasic; the state of calmness/restfulness, the state of movement/passion/action, and the tamasic state of inertia/ resistance. Gunas changes continuously.
And they can be changed voluntarily. One is not bound by the characteristics of a specific guna or a mixture of them. Under the influence of gunas, mind keeps oscillating. There is constant fluctuation of emotions, moods, desires, biases, the state of resistance, temperament etc. The external factors contribute to these oscillations. Since the mind is subject to changes, it is not an intelligent, illumined, radiant object in itself.
So, if mind is not a luminous energy in itself, then does it mean that we are at the whims and fancies of the mind’s wavering? And that any outer/external situations can influence one’s mental state, that is, the sat-raj-tamas proportions?
Yogic wisdom states that there is a way and brings forth the knowledge that the Supreme Intelligence, the inner witness (Purusha/Seer) reflects upon the mind. The inner witness is luminous, eternal, unchanging and indivisible. It is the luminosity of the Supreme Intelligence or Consciousness which reflects upon the mind. Mind is a tool to perceive and it can perceive only in the presence of the Supreme Consciousness just as water can reflect the sun only in sunlight and not in darkness.
Connecting to the Supreme Consciousness
To humans, higher or inner guidance is always available as one transcends the mind and the gunas to connect with the Supreme Consciousness. This is possible in meditation when the mind is quietened. One’s inner guidance is ever-present and is ready to be tapped into, as a matter of divine right, as a part of the divine heritage, by all individual souls.
When mind runs amok and is subject to swings, one’s innate guidance present within, remains out of one’s reach. In meditation, when the mind is quietened, and all three gunas are transcended, then one is able to connect to their inner light; this is the light of wisdom, the knowledge and the knowing. An individual can hear, taste, touch, smell, and feel this inner guidance through their five sensory perceptions.
Metaphors exist for a reason; as ‘smelling’ danger, ‘tasting success’, ‘touching heart’ etc. So, via sense organs, bodily sensations and emotions, our inner guidance “speaks” to us. Only in a coherent, quiet state, the mind can perceive the higher consciousness
Hence, the first step in the meditative process is to still the mind and be able to concentrate. Learning to concentrate and holding on to concentration comes with practice and perseverance. There are various yogic tools and techniques such as trataka (candle gazing), nasarg drishti (nasal gazing), bhrumadhya distri (frontal gazing) and asana/postural practices such as vrikshasana, (tree pose), tadasana (palm tree) to enhance concentration. Concentration is part of meditation and key to tapping the inner guidance.
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is an emotional healer and a forgiveness teacher. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. Her email: firstname.lastname@example.org