Does experience help or cripple the mind?

Published: 18th January 2017 05:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2017 05:03 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Experience nearly always forms a hardened centre in the mind, as the self, which is a deteriorating factor. Most of us are seeking experience. We may be tired of the worldly experiences of fame, notoriety, wealth, sex, and so on, but we all want greater, wider experience of some kind, especially those of us who are attempting to reach a so-called spiritual state. Being tired of worldly things, we want a more extensive, a wider, deeper experience; and to arrive at such an experience, we suppress, we control, we dominate ourselves, hoping thereby to achieve a full realization of God, or what you will. We think the pursuit of experience is the right way of life in order to attain greater vision, and I question whether that is so. Does this search for experience, which is really a demand for greater, fuller sensation, lead to reality? Or is it a factor which cripples the mind?

Being aware does not mean learning and accumulating lessons from life; on the contrary, to be aware is to be without the scars of accumulated experience. After all, when the mind merely gathers experience according to its own wishes, it remains very shallow, superficial. A mind which is deeply observant does not get caught up in self-centred activities, and the mind is not observant if there is any action of condemnation or comparison. Comparison and condemnation do not bring understand-ing, rather they block understanding. To be aware is to observe, just to observe, without any self-identifying process. Such a mind is free of that hard core which is formed by self-centred activities.

As one becomes aware at the conscious level, one also begins to discover the envy, the struggles, the desires, the motives, the anxieties that lie at the deeper levels of consciousness. When the mind is intent on discovering the whole process of itself, then every incident, every reaction becomes a means of discovery, of knowing oneself. That requires patient watchfulness, which is not the watchfulness of a mind that is constantly struggling, that is learning how to be watchful. Then you will see that the sleeping hours are as important as the waking hours, because life then is a total process. As long as you do not know yourself, fear will continue, and all the illusions that the self creates will flourish.

As human beings we are all capable of inquiry, of discovery, and this whole process is meditation. Meditation is inquiry into the very being of the meditator. You cannot meditate without self-knowledge, without being aware of the ways of your own mind, from the superficial responses to the most complex subtleties of thought. I am sure it is not really difficult to know, to be aware of oneself, but it is difficult for most of us because we are so afraid to inquire, to grope, to search out. Our fear is not of the unknown, but of letting go of the known. It is only when the mind allows the known to fade away that there is complete freedom from the known, and only then is it possible for the new impulse to come into being.

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