Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why does the mind always go outwards instead of inwards

Q: Why does the mind always go outwards instead of inwards?

Annamalai Swami: Because we don't ask the question, 'Why does the mind go outwards instead of inwards.'

This question arises because the nature of happiness is not properly understood. People are always looking for it in the wrong places and by doing the wrong activities. You begin with the impression, which is really a misunderstanding, that happiness is something that can be found outside you, and furthermore, that you have to do something or go somewhere to reach it. This is your illusion, and it is your belief in this illusion that makes the mind search for happiness in the outside world.

Even when you are told, 'Happiness is within you as your own Self. Look inwards and find it,' still you think that you have to do something or go somewhere to discover it. This is the power of Maya of illusion. This is like one fish in the sea asking another fish for directions to the ocean.

When you are not aware that your glasses are resting on your nose, you may look for them all day, thinking that they are an object to be found. Eventually, you realise that you were wearing them all the time.

While the search was on, that which was being sought was, in reality, that through which the seeing was taking place. You were looking for an object that finally turned out to be the subject that was doing the seeking. So it is with your mind and the Self. Mind sets up the notion that the Self needs to be found, and then proceeds to hunt for it as if it were some object that could be located in some interior place. This is as foolish as a man with a goat wrapped around his shoulders spending his time wandering around, looking for his goat, and asking everyone he meets where it might be.

~ from Final Talks, edited by David Godman

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