On a hot day, as we look along the road from the car window, we see reflections in the road ahead of "water " shimmering on the pavement. As we approach, we see that it was a mirage. If we accept the vision we see as water, we are fooled. It is an illusion of water only. But if we see the shimmering, and we understand that it is heat moving the air that creates the effect, then we understand that it is hot outside the car. We are not fooled, as the "heat waves " are a true indicator of heat, not an illusion.
It has always seemed strange to me that in spirituality, the mind is cast into the role of villain, or at the very least into the character of charlatan. Concepts of maya, or the dream are created to dismiss the workings of the mind, and thoughts are seen as illusory.
The mind is not an independent entity. The mind is simply a "bag of thoughts ". The thoughts themselves make up the mind. When there are no thoughts, where is there a mind? The thoughts too, are looked at as misleading charlatans. But can they not be pointers beyond themselves to a vision of the Truth?
In Non-duality, we understand that there is only one substance. We can call it the Absolute, "God ", Love, Truth, or the "space " in which all appears, but we can all agree that there is only one substance. This being the conclusion, it becomes obvious that the thoughts are within that "space ". Thoughts passing through; expressions of the unfolding, are either allowed to "go on their way " or are "held " together in time, "forming " the bag of thoughts that appears as the "mind ".
Both the thoughts, and the bag that holds them, are not unlike the mirage we observe in the road; illusions if we take them for what they appear to be, but indicators of truth if we see them as theytruly are. The thoughts, the mind, are not villains or charlatans, they are simply misinterpreted as objects, movements, and feelings suspended in time. The mind, being really nothing but this collection of thoughts, is not the "creator" of the thoughts, but simply interprets them suspended in time. The thoughts themselves are part of the unfolding of the Absolute, of Life.
Those of you who know my teaching, know that I use the term Love in place of the Absolute. I do this for two reasons. The first, because this is how Love presents itself here. The second, because Love's understanding is in the heart. While the mind is not a villain or charlatan, it does tend to see the "shimmering " in the road as "water ". The collection of thoughts suspended in time, is seen by the mind as objects, movements and feelings, while the heart understands that there is only Love unfolding.
While many Non-duality teachers advise us to stay in the "I am " until it is recognized that the only thing in the "bag of thoughts " we can "know " is that we are. This only brings us to the door of understanding. To open the door, the key is in the Absolute (Love) itself. Just as we intellectually (bag of thoughts) understand that the "I am " is as far as the mind can go, we must exhaust ourselves in the search before this is real (realized). So it is with the key; the Absolute (Love). In order to "realize " Love as the "space " in which all unfolds, we need to see that we ARE Love. We do this by "being it ".
If we understand intellectually (bag of thoughts again), that Love is what we ARE, we need to make love a "practice ". This is done through service. To a "seeker ", especially one who is called to solitude or silence, this is sacrifice. To serve without reward, even praise or gratitude, opens the heart in a way that may even be missed by the dedicated "server ", but ultimately opens the heart to the Love that is the "space " in which everything unfolds.
This service, this living for Love alone, is the key to getting beyond the selfishness of the "I am ". Trying to escape the mind which clings to the "I am ", is only to strengthen it. To live for Love alone is to seek the "pearl of great price " . Just as we continue to see the mirage as "water ", we understand, have the conviction, that it is "heat waves " expressing as an "illusion " of water. So it is with the appearances of objects, movements and feelings. The mind (bag of thoughts suspended in time), sees objects, movements and feelings, but the heart, opened by living in Love (service), gains the conviction that this is all the unfolding of Love.
In this conviction, the mind is seen, not as a villain or charlatan, but a mirror in which the light of Love shines on the mystery unfolding before us. The tree=Love. The Sky=Love. The pain=Love. The "I am"=Love. When all is observed as love, with conviction, no matter the form it takes in the mind, we understand that we, the mind, and all else we "observe " is nothing but Love.