sky-like mind

(a clean room and a luminous consciousness)

illustration by sherwin tjia

It is a hopeful sign that the sun came out today after a long period of rain and overhead clouds that reached down to the lake. Light streams in through the window and the blue sky is expansive. The sunshine warms the room, and I have the desire to vacuum, tackle the cobwebs, dust the bookshelves, wash down, sort through, tidy up, rearrange, file and put in order. When I finish the room feels new, fresh and spacious. I sit. A quiet, open and peaceful space has been created that reflects the sky.

On a physical level this light-filled space reminds me of what I want to do with my mind. I want to create a luminous mind. We spend so much time identifying with the busy mind, the monkey mind, the restless mind, all the names we label it with. We focus on the limitations, rather than the potential. We try to control it, overcome the negative tendencies, but what if we let the Light in? What if we recognized our minds as Light?

What is the mind? That is the first question you have to ask and explore for yourself. The mind takes up a lot of space and interprets everything you experience. In that way it is known as the sixth sense, interpreting all the information gathered by your senses. It is a great tool; it can take in all this information and make it into a decision, an action. It can learn and contain knowledge.

And the mind is very malleable. We can train it, through breath or mantra, to be in a space that is in harmony with the rhythm of the universe. And while control of the mind will not in itself lead you to an enlightened space, it helps you to get to know the mind, so that there is a way to guide it, use it to dispel the obstacles and to allow the Light to shine in.

When the Light lights up your mind, first you may have to address what it reveals all the fears hidden in the dark, the issues left unaddressed and clean up the clutter. And with the space that emerges, you may then experience a different kind of fear, what you could call a holy fear, a fear of the unknown, luminous mind.

To face the awesome part of ourselves is a difficult thing to do. We live in a mundane reality, and to go from the mundane to the unexplainable is a huge step for the mind. You will find that you are asking new questions such as: Who am I? and What is my responsibility, knowing that this luminous place is possible?

There is an innate desire in us to find out who we are. We may never really know the answer. Or we may never know how to explain the glimpses that we receive. Fear of the unknown can trap us into a resistant attitude and most people function below their potential because of fear. But remember that the mind has powers to continually manifest creativity and we can use this function to imagine beyond our limitations.

It is important to develop a daily practice of focusing the mind on mantra, breath or Light. At the beginning your mind may need to warm up to the concentrated effort, but then the mind settles in its space and eventually becomes familiar as this point of concentration expands. Sacred space is created, and you are sustained by the simplicity of it and protected by your sincere desire to know yourself. It is handy to have a journal to write experience, outcomes and the inspiration of each day, so you remember and start to identify with those luminous times.

Return to the glimpses of who you are and use your potential to the fullest. Bring the light with you into the day.

This is what yoga is all about building awareness of the Light and building the courage to live life. I am not the body. I am not the mind. I am Light eternal. Make the space available have a sky-like mind that holds the Light.

This is a meditation on light, to help you expand the limits of your imagination. Only go as far as you can. As you practise you will naturally be able to expand the light beyond your original limitations.

Sit in a comfortable position with your ankles crossed. Close your eyes, softly focusing them on the space between your eyebrows. Let your body be still and quiet. See a point of light. Concentrate on the point of light.

See the light expand, filling your body, surrounding you, expanding out and out until it reaches the sky and beyond. See yourself and everyone and everything in the light. See this light spreading as far as you can imagine, and beyond. Then begin to draw the light back to the space between your eyebrows. Stay quiet and still, absorbing the Light.

web exclusive: Inviting Space
A video interview. ascent editor, Sarah Truman, interviews Swami Radhananda on: change, choice, and 'walking into' the mind.

Swami Radhananda is president and spiritual director of Yasodhara Ashram in British Columbia, Canada.

   read more of swami radhananda's past columns

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