Your mind is a pinhole camera, and your senses are the lenses. As you observe the world around you, sights, smells, words feed in through your lenses and imprint upon the film. The film paints a picture of the world as you have experienced it and in reverse, the world to you becomes the picture that has formed in your mind. Our ability to model the perceived world enables us to interact with it and survive. Approximating natural phenomena, probability and causation are what we refer to as our intelligence, our sense of reality.
Unfortunately, this ability to be conditioned by the outside world has troublesome consequences. It leaves us confused and mislead as to the true nature of our being. Our society builds layer upon layer of fictitious understanding; love, happiness, need, addiction, success, status, pleasure. As everything we see about the world is merely a model, it is difficult to truly develop a sound theory of how one must live. It leaves us lost, trying to succeed in not ‘reality’ but rather in this limited model of reality that we have been conditioned into. Hence, it is hardly surprising that no one ever is ever truly satisfied.
This is all consequential of course. Try imagining a conscious existence in which there is no conditioning. If a human were to awaken in a forest, that we consider ‘natural’, without the modern day constructs of society, would we consider him free of conditioning? Would we consider that this person see’s reality for what it is without the indoctrination of materialism, science and other sources of external information.
Well, no. As soon as this person opens his eyes, he is not seeing truth, rather he is seeing trees, water, air. He assumes reality consists of trees, water and air. He sees his hands and hair. He assumes that beings have hands and hair. He feels hunger, pain and adrenaline. He experiences colour, sound and scent. The instant he gains consciousness, he begins to develop a model of reality.
Let us then try to imagine pure consciousness. That is a consciousness that is as free of external stimuli as possible. It cannot hear, smell, taste, feel the way we do. It purely exists. It does not understand joy, sadness, humor or any sort of emotion. It merely exists, even more so than the mind of an unborn child. It is impossible to imagine such a sensation, because we are habituated to experiencing external stimuli.
But maybe we can try to bring ourselves closer to such a place, removing all our preconceptions, prejudice, expectations, needs, wants and all such delusions that inevitably lead to our dissatisfaction. All sources of pleasure from the outside world are fleeting. Chocolate, beauty, sex, intellectual stimulation, human relationships all fade, leaving us wanting more, slaves to our senses. This is the lie that has plagued our civilization, that happiness is to be achieved through seeking things outside of ourselves, confusing Darwinism (responses to favorable conditions) for true happiness.
Break away these layers, focus on the silence of the mind, meditate so that you see the illusions that nature and society have imprinted upon you for what they are. Watch them slip as you smile, realising how silly they are and how deceived you have been. Become nothing but the breath, as if you were in an isolation tank, barely sensing the outside world. Cut yourself off from feeling, from knowledge, from expectation and curiosity. Attempt to become the pure consciousness.
And once you are there, just remain and be. Just be. For your mind no longer yearns for external stimulation. For there are no thoughts to trouble you, haunt you or tease you. You are neither happy, nor sad, instead you merely exist and are satisfied as such.
This is the state that I believe the great yogis and buddhists purport. Through quietude, observation of oneself and ambivalence to pleasure, this is the state of peace that they seek. The place where they may simply be. And once it is understood, you become the lotus, who’s roots are physically nourished by the water (that is the reality), while the flower remains at peace above.