We are prone to think, to perceive, to analyze, to reflect, to dream, to aspire during our waking hours. We jump from one thought to another, from one desire to another. Thus the waking hours of our whole life are spent in thoughts. Thoughts control us. We do whatever our aspirations make us do. Thus we have become the slaves of our mind, dancing to its tunes, its whims and fancies. The genuine sweetness of life is spoilt by this addictive habit. Thoughts disturb our inherent peace, make us commit sins much against our wish and force us to do what not! We feel as though we are chasing a mirage. It seems that in this wild goose chase we will never reach contentment. The main question that arises in the mind of a discriminating man is how to free oneself from the octopic grip of the mind. How to find the much needed repose from the great strain caused by unceasing volley of thoughts? To answer these questions let us analyze our own experience carefully.
The fundamental enquiry is – Is there a silent element in us which is free from this vortex of thoughts? Do we have a transcendental real nature which is free from the commotion of thoughts? The key to the whole haunting problem caused by thoughts lies in this Self analysis.
If we delve deep into ourselves we discover a Silent Substratum, the base on which the thoughts appear, stay for a while and disappear. Our intuition tells us this clearly. For we find that in deep sleep the thinking man is conspicuous by his absence. Yet we recollect- ‘I slept soundly and blissfully’. Who is it who slept happily and was not aware of anything? Who recognizes having slept so soundly? No thoughts are there in deep sleep and yet how are we aware of sound sleep and the bliss of having slept? All these clearly point out to an unthinking man (Self) in us who is just ‘being’. That Self devoid of all thoughts, free from the process of thinking is awareness itself. It is aware of itself – its presence and is an embodiment of unconditioned bliss. We just sleep and thereby realize bliss. We do nothing, not even wink or think in sleep to attain that bliss. This means that such absolute bliss is our very nature – the nature of our ‘being’. This inherent happiness in us is obscured on waking up from deep slumber. On awaking from slumber all worries, all confusions crop up. Let us examine as to what happens on waking up? On waking up our ego – the thinking man arises and we lose our natural bliss. The ego – the assumed ‘I’ – ‘I am so and so’ the thinking man blocks the inherent bliss of the Self, masquerades It. Thoughts arise and we follow them. We fall into their snare, forgetting our true nature. The thinking man rises and the unthinking man (Self) recedes to the background. Just as in a cinema show when the movie starts we no longer perceive the spotless screen but see only the movie, similarly on the arising of the thinking man we forget the Self (devoid of thoughts) and get engrossed in our thoughts .
Thus from our analysis so far we have found that the thinking man rises and sets, appears and disappears while the man (Self) who never thinks- is never the agent of thinking process is the substratum of all thoughts.
The sure solution to this problem is to stop identifying with the thinking man (the assumed ‘I’ or ego) and remain as the Self which never thinks but just ‘is’. In other words just to ‘be’ and not to think. Therefore Ramana Maharishi remarked that it is not our nature to think. To shift one’s attention from thoughts (thinking man) to the Silent awareness behind it (our true nature or the unthinking man) we highly need God’s grace. Only His grace could accomplish this shift of attention for us. This alone can make our life blessed.