Minds have types. You have a particular mind. That particular mind is your upbringing, conditioning, education, culture. Mind means whatsoever has been put into you from the outside, and witnessing means whatsoever has not been put from the outside but is your inside – intrinsically, naturally. It is your nature. Mind is a by-product, a habit. Witnessing, consciousness, awareness, whatsoever you call it, is your nature. But you can acquire so many habits and nature can just go underneath, you can forget it completely. So, really, religion is a fight for nature against habits. It is to uncover that which is natural – the original, the real you.
So remember the first thing: witnessing and thinking are different states. Thinking belongs to your mind, witnessing belongs to your nature, and you cannot do both simultaneously. Mind must cease for your consciousness to be; thought must cease for your real nature to be. So a thinker is one thing, and an enlightened person is totally different.
A Buddha is not a thinker. Hegel or Kant are thinkers; they use their minds to reach particular conclusions. Buddha is not using his mind to reach any conclusions, Buddha is not using his mind at all. He is really a no-mind, he has stopped using mind. He is using himself, not the mind, to reach any conclusions. So with the mind you can reach conclusions, but all conclusions will be hypothetical, theoretical, because one thought can beget another thought. But thought cannot beget reality, thought cannot beget truth.
Through witnessing you reach reality – not conclusions, not theories, but direct, immediate facts. For example, I am saying something to you. You can think about it – then you have missed the point. You can think about it, what witnessing is, what mind is – you can think about it. This is one way, this is the mind’s way. But you can experiment with it and not think. By “experiment” is meant that you have to know how to stop the mind and feel the witnessing. Then again you reach to something, but then it is not a conclusion, it is not something achieved through the thought process. Then it is something you realize.
Someone was asking Aurobindo, “Do you believe in God?”
Aurobindo said, “No, I don’t believe in God at all.” The questioner was perplexed because he had come a long way just because he thought Aurobindo was capable of showing him the path towards God. Now Aurobindo says, “I don’t believe.”
He couldn’t believe his ears, so he asked again. He said, “I am perplexed. I have come a long way just to ask you how to achieve God. If you don’t believe, then the problem, the question, doesn’t arise.”
Aurobindo said, “Who says that the question doesn’t arise? I don’t believe because I know that God is. But that is not my belief, that is not a conclusion reached by thought. It is not my belief, I know. That is my knowing.”
Mind can, at the most, believe. It can never know. It can believe either that there is God or there is no God, but both are beliefs.
Both these are beliefs. Both have reached to these conclusions through “minding,” through thinking. They have thought, they have tried to probe logically, and then they have come to certain conclusions.