Consciousness along with quietness in the mind

ramana_maharshi_monkey_devoteeThis short dialog between Ramana Maharshi and a questioner gives some insight into the state that according to Ramana is most suitable to allow realization of the Self, that underlying quality of Consciousness that is like the screen in the movie theater. We are usually focused on the shapes moving on the screen. When that focus shifts to the screen itself we realize the Self which is undying and unborn. As this realization of the Self deepens and begins to be effortless we realize that which connects us to every other being in existence. Then understanding and compassion take the place of struggle and fear.

Questioner: There are times when persons and things take a vague, almost a transparent form, as in a dream. One ceases to observe them as outside, but is passively conscious of their existence, while not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood. There is a deep quietness in the mind. Is it at such times that one is ready to dive into the Self? Or is this condition unhealthy, the result of self-hypnotism? Should it be encouraged as yielding temporary peace?

Ramana: There is Consciousness along with quietness in the mind; this is exactly the state to be aimed at. The fact that the question has been framed on this point, without realizing that it is the Self, shows that the state is not steady but casual.

The word ‘diving’ is appropriate when there are outgoing tendencies, and when, therefore, the mind has to be directed and turned within, there is a dip below the surface of externalities. But when quietness prevails without obstructing the Consciousness, where is the need to dive? If that state has not been realised as the Self, the effort to do so may be called ‘diving’. In this sense the state may be said to be suitable for realization or diving. Thus, the last two questions you have put do not arise.