Once the inner equipment of perception - the mind, intellect, memory and the sense of I - has become pure, rest it in one's own true form of consciousness. It functions then only as a perceiver of objects, thoughts and emotions.
Slowly, very slowly, the equipment becomes quiet and then it turns inward from the perception of objects without and looks into the Self alone. The verses of the Vivekachoodamani by Sri Adi Sankaracharya take us thought by thought from the perceptions of illusions to the reality - our source.
Quieting the mind is the key.Looking through the intellect, mind and the body without into the world, we are constantly buffeted by thoughts, feelings and emotions from the world and this distracts our attention and keeps the mind restless.
The answer to this problem is to turn the mind away from the body, the senses, from the vital air movements that sustain the body, the mind and the sense of I and the ignorance of who I truly am.
Shutting the door on all these is like closing the door of your home inward, and examining and sorting it out. Here, within yourself there are no objects to look at. There is only freedom for the Self in its seamlessly huge form, as if it is a complete, big sky.
There is space in a pot, in a water jug, in a granary barn and in the eye of a needle. A hundred such objects contain space within. Even though the objects are different, the space within is just one. The space is not different. In the same way, when we turn within, free of conditionings like I, the Supreme reality is just one.
All the conditionings - right from Brahma, the creator of this universe, up to a blade of grass - only constitute an illusory conditioned thought. Therefore, the Acharya exhorts us to take our gaze from all of them and look at that one Self which stands within.
If something is imagined wrongly, then with application of right discrimination, the perception becomes clear. All through what we experience are the delusions of the body, mind and the intellect. We see them, feel them and think about them. In the field of our perceptions lay scattered objects, emotions and thoughts.
The perceptions are caused by a substratum. Just as a rope in a dark pathway causes the illusion of a snake, when light is flashed, the substratum - the rope - is revealed. In the same way, all our thoughts, feelings and perceptions are the delusory snakes which vanish when the light of consciousness is flashed on them, revealing the substratum - the Self, i.e. consciousness itself.
It is this state of realisation where one declares with joy - I am Brahma, I am Vishnu, I am Indra, I am Shiva, I am this world complete and there is nothing else that is other than Me.