Mind is also an illusion
The doors of entry to our mind are our sense organs. Without the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin we will not be able to give any input to our mind. The sensory inputs are the foods that the mind thrives on.
We assume that all that we see and hear are authentic. We believe that the sights we see and the dialogues we hear are the way that things happened. A little reflection will show how untrue it is. How many times have you interpreted a scene to be very different from what it really was based on your own conditioning? For instance, the moment you see a man and woman in close proximity interacting emotionally with one another, perhaps hugging, you immediately jump to the conclusion that they are lovers! They could be friends, brother and sister, father and daughter or mother and son.
It is the conditioning that we carry in us that drives us to interpretations of what we perceive through our senses. That is why I say that we first decide on the judgment and then collect the evidence to support the judgment we have already made. We have made the judgment already. All we need is a few bits of data to support that conviction, that’s all.
It is as if our mind is a projector. We have a number of slides we have gathered along the path of our life, some even from our past births. These slides are the projections with which we live our lives. Each time the slide is repeated it gets more powerful. The first few times it may have to be shown for several minutes for it to impact us. As the samskara* gets engraved deeper into our mind, all that is needed over time is having a quick glimpse and our mood changes and we decide based on that samskara*.
Molecular biology experiments have revealed a startling truth that each time we experience a powerful emotion, like anger for instance, new cellular transmitters and receptors for anger get activated in our body-mind system, not merely in the brain but everywhere in the body. The first few times the emotion happens in the system, it may be a brief drizzle. Once more and more cellular structures get built for this emotion, the drizzle turns into a shower, then into a storm and finally into a tsunami!
A man was stopped by a policeman on the highway for speeding. When the policeman questioned the man, he angrily replied that he was not speeding.
The policeman said he noted his speed at seventy miles per hour when the speed limit was fifty miles per hour. The man screamed that the policeman was lying. Now the policeman reached out for his pistol.
Just then, the man’s wife leaned over and rolled down the window, ‘Officer, don’t argue with my husband when he has been drinking, he can become dangerous!’
All these incidents of road rage and other acts of passion and violence do not happen at one particular instant. The conditioning gets deeper and stronger at the cellular level. It is like cancer. Just like the malignant cells grow and kill, scientists have now discovered that emotional receptors multiply allowing emotions to flood us with no control from our part. In simple terms these emotions take over our behavior. To think that we control our mind and we decide what we do is the biggest illusion we carry in our lives! This is the maya* that drives us.
* Samskara – Engrams or deeply engraved memories.
* Maya – Literally ‘That which is not’ It is the concept that life is but a dream, however real it may seem while being experienced.