When a child wants to lift its hand, the hand does go up. When it wants to throw a toy, the toy indeed smashes into something. Since childhood, these desire obeying acts continue to happen throughout life with reasonable consistency. All these make the person believe that the results of actions are in his/her control. Let us say, at some point in early adulthood a man wants to own a mansion. He works very hard towards the fulfilment of this desire throughout his life but when he is in his 80s there is no sign of the mansion. He is not even close to possessing it and hence suffers blaming this or that.
Actually, everything is done by the laws of nature. A thought comes via the brain and the latter is made of nature and hence is controlled by its laws. This thought is processed by the mind and the decision is taken either in favour of it or against it or is kept pending or is forgotten etc. Say, for example a thought of eating sweets comes to the mind of a diabetic person. The mind processes this thought taking into account various factors & feelings and arrives at a conclusion. If decision is favourable, the hand is given the command to pick up a sweet and place it in mouth. Though everything happens automatically, false “I” thinks that it is responsible for doing it. This false “I” taking itself to be the doer is sometimes happy due to its achievements and is sometimes sad due to its failures though in reality this false “I” is not responsible for any of those results. Many times in spiritual teachings it appears that false “I” is treated as the primary problem. Actually false “I” is not the primary problem, it is the doer attached to false “I” that is the main problem. In other words, false “I” identified with doer is the primary problem. False “I” is fine if it is recognised as false.
False “I” + Doer = Bondage
The moment, “I am doer” notion is negated, it is freedom. False “I” can continue to watch the games of the mind without getting attached to them.
*Doership means results of action are in control of the individual.
Q: Why is my mind not in the present moment and how to bring my mind to the present moment 24×7?
A: In modern fast life too much Rajas (activity) could be the major reason for the existence of the habit of living in head. There could be too many tasks in, “To do” list made by your mind and it wants to jump from one task to another quickly. In this case your mind is always looking for, “What next?” and it may even treat a particular task as an obstacle that needs to be got rid of. Perhaps your mind wants to prove something to somebody or your mind is programmed from childhood to do too much work and not to rest etc. You need to do self inquiry to find out the real cause of this attitude applicable in your case, to slow down and to concentrate on doing one thing at a time .
While self inquiry is the fastest method of purification, Karma Yoga attitude is also very effective to mellow down Rajas.
Let us say that there are 5 eatable items placed at the dining table during lunch that A is having. From the perspective of A, he has 5 choices and he can choose to eat whatever he wants to eat out of these items. In this way, A has limited free will.
However, the choice that A makes to eat something is governed by the thoughts coming out of A’s mind. These thoughts come out due to the laws of nature of which A has no control. Thoughts automatically come out of the mind, processed by the intellect and the decision is made. All these things happen automatically. In this way, free will is not really free as laws of nature govern both the origin & processing of thoughts.
Mind-shield (Manomayakosha) is the barrier we form as children to protect ourselves from unpleasant feelings like hurt for example. This is because we believe that everything – including those feelings – is real. Once we realise that the reality is pure consciousness and what is not permanent is not real, this barrier of Manomayakosha must go making way for the bliss to shine. Manomayakosha acts as a barrier preventing bliss to shine which is our essential nature. It is okay to be somewhat vulnerable to feelings once it is known that the reality is non-dual. Even if self-realisation has not taken place, but just this understanding takes place that fears are behind many acts that we unconsciously do and it is those fears that prevent us from experiencing ever present bliss, we are ready to work towards diluting the shield of the mind (Manomayakosha) via self inquiry. Diluting Manomayakosha via self inquiry means finding the root cause of any feeling that arises which is of the nature of hurt, anxiety, approval seeking, low self-esteem etc.
PS: Fear is not the only component of Manomayakosha. Desire is also another major component. The above write-up concentrates on the fear aspect.
Imagine a huge computer program running a play involving several holograms, each hologram playing specific role as decided by the computer program. The computer program is capable of simulating various emotions displayed by holograms. There is certain degree of artificial intelligence provided to each hologram, so that there is some free will as far as each hologram is concerned. As this play of holograms continues, various holograms in this play experience moments of joy and sorrow etc. Thanks to the artificial intelligence and certain conditions in the play, a particular hologram realises that the experience of joy comes and goes and it wants to make it permanent. It also wants to know what is making this whole thing happening. Using its artificial intelligence and accessing the central memory of the computer it is able to realise that essentially it is electromagnetic signal and not the role it is playing. This particular hologram becomes self realised from that point onwards but continues to play its role in a detached manner.
PS: The above write-up is only an approximation as the actual self-realisation would mean that the hologram knows that it is awareness and not just electromagnetic signal.
A cook touches a very hot utensil accidentally and automatically the body pulls the hand back.
An electrician touches a high voltage live wire accidentally and automatically the body pulls the hand back.
The above two examples are the illustrations of how things happen automatically without us doing them consciously. These actions happen via defence mechanism thanks to the nervous system.
It is easy to see via both of these examples that we are not the doers. However, when it comes to other acts like speaking for example it is not so easy to see that things are happening on their own. We often tend to own the doership. This is because, while tuning of attention does happen automatically, it happens so quickly when attention keeps on drifting from one place to the other that our conditioned intellect is unable to catch the autopilot behaviour. When this fact that everything happens by itself is recognised by watching the activities of body-mind, e.g. the appearance of thoughts, movement of hands, words coming out from mouth, happening of hearing via ears etc., the astonishing realisation that I am not doing anything and everything is happening by itself takes place (also refer to Bhagavad Gita 5.8, 5.9). After the recognition of this fact that if everything is just happening and I am not doing anything and this body-mind is like a robot, the question, “Who am I?” is natural to come. Seeking of the answer to this question may eventually take the seeker towards enlightenment when the seeker after finding itself sees itself everywhere.
The embedded video below showing enlightenment taking place is from an old Indian movie, “Guide”. Some of my remarks in English are also shown below to highlight certain aspects of the story. The movie, “Guide” was inspired by the novel, “The Guide” by R. K. Narayan. English trailer of the movie can be found here.