Question: What is the difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘realisation’?
Speaker: Realisation is never one thing. Realisation is never a particular sentence. If I ask you: “What are you thinking?,” you can very clearly tell me, “These are my thoughts.” Thoughts can always be captured in words, because thoughts come from the world, and whatever is there in the world can be put in words.
Do you see anything around you for which you do not have a name? There is always a word available for it. Right? There is the pillar, there is a window pane, there is a fan, there is the light, there is the floor, the building, the birds, the trees. Everything has a name. So thoughts, because they come from the world, they can always be put in a sentence, or in a word.
Realisation, on the other hand, is not about having a particular fixed sentence that you carry. Realisation is like a mirror. And thought is like a painting. A thought is like a painting that was painted five years back. And since five years, the painting is the same. The world has been flowing, but the painting is the same.
Realisation is like a mirror. The mirror is nothing in itself, the mirror is an empty thing. But the mirror accurately reflects whatever is going on. Mirror is zero, it has nothing of its own, but it accurately tells you what is going on. The mirror never gets influenced by what is going on. Remember the quote, “Cross the river but do not get your feet wet”? The mirror is an excellent example of that. As long as you are standing in front of the mirror, the mirror will display your face. The moment you are gone, will the mirror still hold on to your face? No. It is gone.
The mirror has no attachments, the mirror has no past, the mirror has no future and the mirror has no bias or preferences. If white comes in front of the mirror the mirror will show white, if black comes in front of the mirror it will show black. This is realisation – not having any residue from the past, or from the world.
How does it not have anything from the past? Yesterday you stood in front of the mirror, today the mirror won’t be holding on to your image. So the mirror has dropped the past. And the mirror has nothing to do with the world as well. The world comes, the mirror reflects it. The world does not come, the mirror doesn’t reflect it. So realisation is nothing in itself, thought is something. You can communicate ‘thought’. So we say, “Thought is like a painting, or thought is like a sentence or a word.” Who is the one who realises? The one who is free of thoughts.
A famous Chinese saint, Chaung Tsu said, “Do not search for the truth; only cease to hold opinions.” And opinions are thoughts. As soon as you are free of your opinions, the truth will shine in front of you. And that is why nobody ever comes to know the truth. Why? Because we are full of opinions. We all have so many opinions. So how can we ever know the truth? To know the truth you have to be like a mirror. Nothing of its own, vacant, empty zero, carrying no thought no ideology, no plans, no weight of memories, no attachment to the world. And then you know the truth. That is realisation.
So realisation by itself means nothing. It only means empty space. You cannot think, think and think, and then come to realisation. Though we wish that realisation comes from thought. We find it easy. Right? It would be our desire that we can think our way to realisation. We cannot do that. Hard thinking will not lead you to realisation. Even deep thought will not lead you to realisation.
Freedom from thought is instant realisation. When the mind is composed, when the mind is not wandering in thoughts, then there is quick, obvious, spontaneous realisation. That is realisation. Like a mirror! You just know.
Let us take this present example. As I am speaking, there are many of you who are just listening, without interpreting, without analyzing, just like a mirror. There are many of you who are just listening. They are the ones who are really understanding. They will realise. And there are others who are caught in thoughts. They might be caught in miscellaneous thoughts of the world, or they might be using my words and comparing them to something else. They will not understand.
Realisation is not possible in a state of thought. Realisation is not possible when the mind is occupied with this and that. Simply attend to the present, and that is realisation. Just attend to what is going on, and that is realisation. Simple and direct!
(There is slight disturbance from the audience, which disturbs the speaker. Addressing this issue with the audience)
I am repeating this again: Communication or Samvaad is only possible when the speaker and the listener are at the same level of consciousness, otherwise you will lag behind, otherwise you will not know what is being said. If your mind is not in the same depth of attention as the speaker, then you will not understand the speaker.
When the mind is occupied in its distractions and titillation, no understanding can happen. Understanding comes only to a still and calm mind.
– Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: What is the difference between thinking and realisation?
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Article 2 : What is understanding?