The Reality of the Enlightened Mind


vastu-sāmye citta-bhedāt tayor vibhaktaḥ panthāḥ (PYS IV.15)

Each individual person perceives the same object in a different way, according to their own state of mind and projections. Everything is empty from its own side and appears according to how you see it. (PYS IV.15)

This sutra says that we actually create our own reality. That is how powerful we are! Embracing the wisdom of this sutra involves taking responsibility for our life and the world we live in. It is only then that we can begin to consciously co-create with the universe the world we want to live in, as opposed to perceiving the world as coming at us, as something we have no control over.

This concept of shunyata, or emptiness, is incredibly liberating and empowering. It is only then that we can stop playing the blame game, that we can liberate ourselves from feeling like victims. Responsibility and freedom are two sides of the same coin—you can’t have one without the other. We are the ones who give the meaning to people, objects and situations. Knowing this we will do our best to project goodness and magnificence and extend love into the one world we share. It is what His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls “enlightened self-interest.”

Yet could it be that our own power frightens us more than being powerless does? Is the fear of our own enlightened mind and actions preventing us from creating a more joyous, peaceful and healthy world to live in? To indulge this fear is to give our power away, to dishonor the gift of life. Enlightenment is the only remedy to the world’s despair. Shifting our perception from unconscious to conscious, from unenlightened to enlightened, is what will change the world, what will change our current highly self-destructive way of living on this planet. Through the Yoga practices our perceptions are refined: we learn to calm the fluctuations of the mind so that we can see objects, people and situations without the judgments, prejudices and conditioning that come from our past thoughts, words and actions. When we stop identifying with our thoughts and feelings, the fluctuations of the mind, or citta vrittis, we can experience clarity of mind, enlightenment.

An enlightened mind recognizes the Oneness of Being—how deeply interconnected everything is. We see en-light, i.e., clearly. We see the true, eternal connecting essence of everything and everyOne, which is pure consciousness and pure bliss. We are not separate from one another or from Mother Earth. Thus, everything we think, say or do (or not think, say or do) makes a difference and has an impact on the world we all share. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Opening ourselves to the concept that everything we think, say and do has an impact on the greater whole changes our reality. It changes the way we show up and act in the world. We start making more conscious choices, having more conscious relationships; we begin making connections where we perhaps haven’t seen them before: between a paper napkin and a tree, a plastic bag and oil drills, a hamburger and another living being. We begin to ask ourselves whether the choice we’re making or the action we’re taking is going to perpetuate the disconnect in the world or bring the world closer together. By healing our own torn relationships we help heal the world.

If our intention is to live by the principles of love and compassion, we will choose the truth instead of the illusion of separateness, the enlightened mind-set instead of judgment.

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