Becoming Open-Minded

What is a narrow mind? A narrow mind is one which is filled with images. Now, let’s come to an understanding about what images really are. To begin with, we have impressions in our mind. These impressions come about from our experiences. More specifically, they are created in the mind when ‘ I ‘ do actions. The key word here is ‘ I ‘, which means ‘me’, which means ego-self, which means the identification of the eternally conscious Self with the temporary ‘body’ (body, mind, intellect, and all the things of this world of mind and matter). No one remembers their first action in this body, and certainly not their first impression either. We may incorrectly call our first memory our first impression, but in fact, our memories are formed from our impressions. The impressions referred to here are subtle impressions (SAMSKARAS). Naturally, we may also form ‘impressions’ of our memories too.

From our impressions arise subtle tendencies (VASANAS). These subtle tendencies become full blown desires when the ‘environment’ for their fulfillment comes about. These tendencies and desires induce the mind to ‘think’. That is, we have thoughts related to our impressions, tendencies, and desires. In fact, we are prompted, or impelled to think in order to satisfy our desires created from our impressions. [Remember: at the subtle level, our desires are VASANAS, or motivating tendencies.] Our thoughts form our attitudes, or mental disposition. Together, our thoughts, attitudes, and mental disposition are called VRITTIS. Our mental disposition makes us disposed to act in a certain way, according to our impressions and tendencies. So, our attitude, or mental disposition leads us to do actions which in turn create more impressions, and thus the cycle of KARMA goes on, and on, and on. (Karma, Samskara, Vasana, Vritti, Karma. . . . .)

This brings us back to the explanation of ‘images’. All images are formed in our thoughts. In fact, images are thoughts, attitudes, and mental dispositions to which we cling to. It is this ‘clinging’ that makes the thought an image. An image of what? An image of ourselves. In other words, the ‘cling-on’ is our own ego, which attaches to a particular thought to validate its existence. We support our separate identity by holding on to those thoughts (attitudes, etc.) which perpetuate our separate selfhood. These images are the ‘hood’ that covers the self and creates in the mind the illusion of separateness. When we remove the images we dis-cover, or uncover the Truth (our own True Self) and the mind recovers from the spell of self-delusion.

When the mind is filled with images (which simply means: ‘when we are using our mind to support our ego’), our mind becomes constricted and this constriction creates friction and tension in the mind. We are stressed-out by our own images and ego-expectations. But when we open up our mind, by dropping our images and false expectations, the mind becomes free and clear.

So, how do we do it? How do we remove our mental images? We remove our images by filling our mind with the Wisdom of Consciousness: with the explanation and knowledge of what our real nature is, and what is the real nature of this world (including of course our mind, body, intellect, ego, etc.). The wisdom will create a stir in the mind and make it difficult to remain complacent. Wisdom makes the mind that is filled with images very uncomfortable, but it also gives the mind new insights which are very refreshing. Naturally, the mind wants to feel ‘refreshed’. To get more refreshment, the mind makes room for more wisdom by removing more images. When the mind becomes completely image-free, the ego no longer has any support and is removed from the mind. Through intense spiritual practice, the ego is eventually dissolved and the self stands clear. The true nature of the Self, which is self-effulgent and ever free, is manifested. OM

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