The Deceptive Nature of the Mind

Have you ever experienced the feeling of being awake in a dream? That sense of being fully present, only to realize later that it was all an illusion? This is a common trap that seekers often fall into on their spiritual journey. The mind has a way of deceiving us, making us believe that we have arrived when in reality, we are still lost.

Just like in a dream, where the feeling of being awake is part of the dream itself, the mind can create the illusion that we have reached our destination. It tricks us into thinking that there is nowhere else to go, that we have finally found what we were seeking. But this is not the reality; it is merely a dream created by the mind.

As a seeker, it is important to be aware of this deceptive nature of the mind. The role of a spiritual master is to awaken us from this illusion, to remind us that we have not truly arrived. This awakening can happen at various points along our journey, and it may frustrate and annoy us. We may feel irritated with the master for taking away the illusion every time we believe we have attained enlightenment.

Let me share an example to illustrate this point. There was a German disciple who repeatedly experienced the feeling of enlightenment. He was so certain of his realization that he even sought my blessings. However, each time, I had to remind him that he was being deceived by his own mind. He had not truly awakened; he was still the old man, trapped in the grip of the ego. His actions, such as writing letters to the UN and other governments, were merely manifestations of the ego.

Living in a beautiful dream is easy; facing the shattering of our dreams by reality is hard. In the ancient scriptures of the East, this power of illusion is referred to as maya. The mind has the hypnotic power to create any illusion we desire. When we desperately seek something, the mind may create the illusion to quell our desperation.

Think about your dreams at night. If you go to bed hungry, you will likely dream about eating delicious food. The mind is trying to help you by satisfying your hunger in the dream, so that your sleep is not disturbed. Similarly, if you feel the need to urinate while sleeping, the mind may create a dream where you have gone to the toilet and returned to sleep. It is all an attempt to protect your sleep and ensure you wake up rejuvenated.

On the spiritual path, the mind operates in the same way. It is a mechanical entity, programmed to preserve our sleep and create barriers against anything that disturbs it. Whether it is ordinary sleep or spiritual sleep, ordinary awakening or spiritual awakening, the mind treats them all the same. It will give you what you ask for, be it food, truth, or enlightenment. It has the power to create the illusion of the real thing.

So, as seekers, we must be vigilant and not be fooled by the tricks of the mind. We must stay alert to the possibility of being deceived by our own thoughts and perceptions. Only by recognizing the illusory nature of the mind can we truly awaken and continue our journey towards self-realization.