Reflect on the many situations in personal relations, where innocuous observations have resulted in misperceptions and totally irrational outcomes. How often we see something and perceive it to be something totally different? How often we hear words incorrectly or comprehend them inaccurately, yet believe what we heard is the truth? All our senses – the vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell – are all sources of information. These signals and their sensors are all part of matter. What we observe, perceive, conclude and how we react are all aspects of the mind over matter.
Consider the perception, inferences and consequences as a result of the observations. Totally innocent events have a tendency to be twisted and turned into heinous effects depending on the observer and his/her perceptions (the mind). From the story described earlier one could conclude that the observer is at fault. The observer witnessed a set of events, but concluded an intent behind them which was totally inaccurate. Is it not useful and necessary to seek a set of observations and look at the pattern, instead of jumping into conclusion on single evidence? Was this also the failure of Duryodhana and his leadership quality? If the education on sample size and their statistical significance, is put to use in our daily life, may be there would be very little noise and commotion in our daily life?
How often do you jump to conclusions? How often do you fire first and aim later? How often do you facilitate gathering further relevant information, before decisions are made? Greater your engagement in such broader base of observations more is your effectiveness in managing the mind over the matter.
Whether you jump to conclusions or not will be evidenced through your openness for new information. Our willingness to change our mind is not a weakness, as long as the mind is consciously aware of the mind over matter. Constant effort to seek more information or observations and a complete willingness to change our mind when faced with new evidences is not a symptom of being indecisive. This open minded nature should not be sacrificed for fear of being seen as weak or a flip-flop.
The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle. In our opinion such effects are involuntary conditioning of the mind. They also reflect an absence of the control of the mind over the matter.
Observation and reflection is not a one way street. One who has constant control of his mind over the matter is free to say or hear whatever he chooses at a given moment, since his mind is open to the response and modify the action accordingly. If you are not totally attached to your thoughts or actions (the matter), your mind will exhibit that freedom. When the focus on mind over matter becomes natural, there is a liberation from the constraints that inhibits most of us and most of the time! This is best described as analogous to the lotus leaf, which lives in the water, sustained by the water and yet remains untainted by the water!
Events and all circumstances surrounding them are all the aspects of “matter”. Observation, inferences, conclusion and decisions are all the various aspects of the “mind”. The objectivity displayed by the mind will be noticed only through the next set of events which could be a decisive action or seeking more data or information, probing, experimentation, etc. All of these are again aspects of “matter”. Thus we see that mind and matter are inseparable and inter-twined. When “mind “is intimately tied to the “matter”, the mind goes through perturbations, just as the material objects change with time and circumstances. When the mind is held in check and used as a tool and as an enabler, the objectivity of the observer increases. The connectors – Guna – determine the nature of this connection between the matter and the mind.
Being unaware of this interconnectedness and to believe that the mind and the matter are distinct and separate from each other is considered as fallacy (Maya – illusion).To understand the inseparable nature of mind and the matter and the nature of the connectors is described as the first step towards acquiring the true knowledge. Mind, the matter and the connectors (Guna) are all means or agents. The Self (I) merely exists as a witness and participant in this play of mind, matter and their interconnectedness. One who understands this independence of the Self (I) is considered as truly liberated. In this unattached active engagement one reaches a state of true liberation. This is considered as the True Knowledge.
The True Knowledge of the SELF (I) merely as an observer brings untold joy and happiness, which can not be described. It is truly the outcome of Self-realization. In that state of knowledge or awareness our common perceptions of joy and sorrow (and all other dualities) disappear. This is not a meta-physical state. Instead it is merely the fine tuning of our understanding of the mind over matter May this be your source of a new found state of joy and happiness in the coming New Year!