UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE SELF: A JOURNEY BEYOND THE PHYSICAL BODY

UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE SELF: A JOURNEY BEYOND THE PHYSICAL BODY

In the clamour for reality, have you ever found yourself wondering who you really are? Or what is your true self? Many of us have sought to discover our true selves and yet, only few succeed. It is often said that through meditation we know our true self. The question then arises, when we talk of knowing our true self, do we mean to say that we start knowing our habits, our behavior, our intellectual level, our physical strength, or is it something else?

In Preksha meditation, we discover about the true self, we understand the reason for our existence. Our existence is made of two aspects – the physical body and the consciousness. Now, the physical body is matter. And matter has four properties – colour, touch, taste and smell. Anything that is matter in the universe has to have these four properties.

At the same time, our physical body also includes the sensory organs which enable us to know these four properties of matter in its multiple forms. The sensory organs may be understood to be the functional extension of the physical body and do not possess individually the properties of matter. They allow us to know matter or the properties of matter. But that is where their role comes to an end.  They do not carry out any analysis or take any judgement with regard to what they have sensed. They simply pass on the information they have received to the human mind, which is also the physical extension of the body. The mind is what analyses the information received by the sensory organs, stores it in our memory, and if the need be, visualizes on the basis of the memory.

It is important to remember that the physical body consists of the body or matter; the sensory organs, the extension of the body to perceive; and the mind which, keeps the memory of that which has been perceived by the sensory organs. So they are all part and parcel of the physical body. Now let us try to understand the consciousness in this light. By its very definition, the consciousness is devoid of the four properties of matter, implying that it cannot be known by the sensory organs. And if it cannot be known through the sensory organs, there cannot be any memory related to it or any analysis related to it by the mind. Consequently, knowing the true self would mean travelling beyond the physical body, travelling beyond the sensory organs, travelling beyond the mind, and to the consciousness.

However, the journey to knowing the true self must be mediated through the physical body itself. Here, the body, the sensory organs and the mind lead us to a situation where we connect to the consciousness. The first step in this process is to stabilize the body – it has to be in a state of total relaxation. The moment the body is relaxed, the sensory organs will also relax, as will the mind, slowing down the thought process. This leads to a state where we start travelling beyond the body, beyond the sensory organs, beyond the thoughts, towards consciousness, to the true self.

The process described here is not instantaneous; it takes time. But the journey has begun. The objective will be achieved when one is able to see clearly the distinction between the physical body and consciousness.

I am away from the body, I am not the body.

But let us keep that thought aside for another discussion at a later stage. In the beginning, the process of the journey towards the true self must focus on learning the art to travel beyond the body, the sensory organs and the mind. And this is what the Preksha Meditation tries to teach. Through Kayotsarga, a powerful medium of teaching, that very process is emphasized on. In fact, it is said in Preksha Meditation that the journey of meditation begins from Kayotsarga where the body is relaxed, the sensory organs are also relaxed and mind becomes quiet and calm. At the same time, the journey of meditation also ends at Kayotsarga because when the ultimate realization of the separation of the body and the consciousness takes place and we are able to connect to the consciousness, our ultimate aim is achieved.

The best way to begin the journey is to join a residential camp at the Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra. You can also join the free Preksha meditation classes held at the Kendra every day.

Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra

Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra is a living tribute to the vision of Yuga-Pradhan Ganadhipati Shri Tulsi.

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