Chapter 5: The Discipline of Transcendence
Watch it. Find out whether what he says is true or not. Try it in your life. You were a child, now you are no longer a child; then you were a young man, now you are no longer young; now you have become old; the childhood body has gone, the childhood mind has disappeared. Then you had another body in your youth - that has gone. The vigor, the vitality, the youth, the beauty - everything has disappeared. You had a different type of mind - too ambitious, too desirous, too egoistic. Now all that is a story of the past. Now death is coming; you can hear the sound of its coming closer every day. You can feel that every day the distance is becoming smaller and smaller. But watch one thing: you have remained the same. Your innermost core has not changed a little bit, it has not changed at all. When you were a child, it was the same consciousness watching from behind. You were young; it was the same consciousness watching. Then you became old; it is the same consciousness.
It is as if consciousness is a mirror. A child stands before the mirror, the mirror reflects the child; a young man stands before the mirror, the mirror reflects the young man; an old man stands before the mirror, the mirror reflects the old man - but the mirror is neither child, nor young, nor old. And when all have gone there is simply a mirror reflecting nothing, just being there.
Your consciousness is a mirror.
This metaphor of the mirror is tremendously meaningful. It will be very helpful on the way if you can understand it. The consciousness is just standing behind, watching. It is a witness. Things come and go.just like a movie. You sit in a movie house; on the screen many things come and go. Sometimes you get identified too. Sometimes you become identified with an actor. Maybe he is beautiful, powerful, has a charm, a grace of personality, is impressive, has some charisma: you get identified, you forget yourself. For a moment you start thinking as if he is you. Sometimes it happens that there is a very sad scene, and you start crying, Your eyes are wet.and there is nothing on the screen - just light and shadow passing. And you know it, but you have forgotten for a moment. If you remember it, you will start laughing at yourself: “What are you doing? crying? weeping?” But it happens when you read a novel too. At least there is something on the screen. Reading a novel there is nothing - no screen, no actors, nothing. Just in your own fantasy the novel goes on and on and on. And suddenly sometimes you feel very happy, and sometimes you feel very sad; the climate of the novel starts possessing you.
This is exactly what is happening in life. Life is a great stage, a great drama. And it is very complex - because you are the actor, and you are the director, and you are the film, and you are the screen, and you are the projector, and you are the audience too. Now you are all layers: one part playing the role of an actor, another part directing, another part functioning as a screen, another part working as a projector. And behind it all is your real reality - the witness who is just watching.
This watcher.once you start feeling its existence, once you start getting settled with it, more and more in tune with it, then you will see what Buddha means when he says consciousness is a mirror. The mirror is never contaminated, it only appears to be. You can put a heap of dung before a mirror; of course it will reflect it. But still the mirror is not contaminated, it is not polluted. It doesn’t become impure because a heap of manure or dung is reflected in it, it remains still pure. Remove the dung and the mirror is there in all its purity. Even when the dung was reflected the mirror was not contaminated. So whatsoever is impure is really a reflection, it is mirrored. And Buddha says: If you get cleansed of this dross, the dirt of evil and passions, your conduct will be unimpeachable.