A mirror is never full. However many images may form in it, it always remains empty. Images come and go, the mirror goes on letting go of them. The renunciation of the mirror is continuous. It goes on letting go of its indulgences, it never holds on to them. Your face is seen in the mirror, and it lets go of it. No sooner do you move away than the mirror has forgotten you, as if you had never come before it.
The consciousness of man is like a mirror and the mind of man is like a photographic film. The inner consciousness of man is like a mirror, nothing sticks to it. But man has another mechanism called mind. Mind is like a film: whatever is reflected in it gets caught by it.
In fact if the mind does not catch hold of things it loses its utility. This is why we say that a good memory is a valuable thing. The society, the education, is all based on a good memory system. To whom does that good memory belong? It belongs to the mind which holds onto things.
Mind is a mechanism like a film. It goes on retaining like a film; whatever comes in front of it, it retains. Whatever is of no use is also retained; what is useless, rubbish and meaningless, is also retained. What is not needed at all is retained. A film cannot choose. Anything exposed to it – it cannot choose what to retain, what not to retain. Whatever comes in front of it is caught by it.
Your mind goes on catching hold of things: you have no idea how much mess you accumulate during the day. Psychologists now say that your mind does not catch hold of only that of which you are aware, it also catches hold of that of which you are not aware. For example, we are sitting here; I am speaking and you are listening to me. You are not even aware that a bird warbled and flew away, that there was a sound of a horn on the road – you have no idea of all this, but the mind is catching hold of all of this too. If you are later asked whether a bird had flown by while you were listening to the talk, you may say you do not remember this at all. However, if you are hypnotized and then asked what other things had happened, you will admit both: the bird had flown by and the horn was also sounded on the road.
Psychologists call it subliminal memory. Hidden behind the conscious mind is the subconscious mind which is taking in things the whole time – even those of which you are not aware. While you are sleeping at night, then too your subconscious mind is absorbing; it goes on absorbing even what is happening outside.
You will be surprised to know that the latest scientific discoveries reveal that a child gathers memories even in the womb. The child goes on gathering impressions of whatever is happening on the outside. Yoga has recognized this since ancient times, that whatever takes place in the mother, or around her, the child catches it and his growth is influenced by it. And the science of the West is coming closer to recognizing this now.