“Our own mind is like a mirror which reflects the universe and you watch the reflection.
“Before, we would take these reflections for reality so that we became entranced, repelled or indifferent to them. But in Vipassana we just observe that all these reflections are changing conditions.
“We begin to see them as objects rather than as a self, where as when we’re ignorant we tend to seek identity with them.”
– Ven. Ajahn Sumedho
Whatever we perceive of the world is perceived within our mind, isn’t it?
- Whatever we see – is seen within our mind
- Whatever we hear – is heard within our mind
- And the same goes for perceiving through all the other senses.
So all that we see around us are just changing perceptions, occurring within our mind, isn’t it? You could say that all that we experience in everyday life is like a projection from the senses, occurring within our mind.
Another way of looking at it is like looking at a mirror – all that we see within the mirror are just changing reflections. Now we end up seeing our own body in the mirror – but that too is just a reflection – it’s not who we really are but a mere reflection that we “mis-take” for who we really are.
Whatever we see IN the mirror are perceptions, reflections but are NOT the observer, even though it looks exactly like the observer.
Now this does not necessarily mean that there is no observer. It would be too big of a jump to conclude that. It just means that all that we see in the mirror is not self, not me, not mine, not who I really am – it’s just a reflection that I’m mistaking for me.
Similarly, all the information that we receive through our senses, gets transformed into signals that gets interwoven and processed by the brain – to form an experience that we think is me perceiving the world through my body, moving in a perception of space, occurring in a perception of time.
But it’s all just a projection, occurring within our mind – in the same way that Virtual Reality can project an entire 3D world that we experience to be real. But nothing that we experience through that virtual world is our real self, is it? Even though we can temporarily identify our virtual body as being our self – but it’s not really true.
The observer is not really a part of that virtual world – even though it is manifesting in it temporarily.
Similarly, our bodies and stream of thoughts, in this everyday world – are not really our real self either. They are just changing conditions that we are experiencing the world through whilst we play and experience the 3D virtual game of life in this body.