The Other Side of the Mirror – New Year discourse by Sadhguru
In this week’s Spot, Sadhguru invites you to explore a pleasantness that most human beings didn’t even know exists. He says, “The only way to know life is if you get to the other side of the mirror.” How? Practical methods included in this Spot.
T ime as an experience is relevant to all of us because we are mortal. Everything that you think you are in terms of body, mind, and emotions, is a product of memory. Every level of memory – evolutionary, genetic, conscious, sub-conscious, unconscious – is calibrated in terms of time. In some sense, the solar system has its own memory which in turn reflects in every life, every animate and inanimate form in this system – everything is shaped by the system as a whole.
If you are totally absorbed in your physiological or psychological processes, you are a product of time. Being a product of time means being repetitive – your original nature will never find expression. This is the reason why since the time of Adiyogi, we have been talking about consciousness, because consciousness means transcendence of cycles of time. You may be aware of the world outside, but you are not conscious that you as a life are here. You experience the world and its people, but you have no experience of the self.
Your mind and your body are a product of the world and its people. Your original nature is not in your experience because it is on the other side of the mind. In a way, your mind is like a mirror. It may be a distorted one, but still a mirror. You see the world because it is reflected in your mind. But the mind never reflects the self. I am not talking about your physical or psychological self. You can contemplate your thoughts and emotions, but you cannot contemplate the self. Your existence cannot be contemplated – it can only be experienced. The mind is reflecting the world around you, but there is no experience of you as a life. But the most important thing in this existence right now for you is you are here.
When there is no experience of the self, when you have not touched life on a deeper level, there is no question of experiencing the source of the self. Most human beings only experience the kaleidoscope that is happening on the mirror of the mind. They keep digging into their memory either to make themselves happy or make themselves unhappy. Whether it is joy or misery, the source is what is happening in one’s mind.
What is happening on the mirror of the mind keeps you engaged for a lifetime and more – the same thoughts, the same emotions go on endlessly. Today is a reminder that you have an expiry date. Another moment, another day, another year should not pass without you knowing life. You will know life not with food, drink, love, or pleasure. The only way to know life is if you get to the other side of the mirror. On this side of the mirror, you can only see drama – you cannot see life in its essence.
There are many ways to approach this. One simple thing you can do is the Isha Kriya. When you say, “I am not the body. I am not the mind,” it means “I am not a product of memory. I am not an accumulation. I must be something more than that.” Your aliveness comes from the fundamental source that is on the other side of your mental mirror.
I want you to make a sustained effort. Wherever you are right now, close your eyes and check – are you here? Thoughts and emotions are there, the body is there, but are you really here? To experience that, you can employ a few simple methods. The reason why for ages, anyone who wants to be spiritual foregoes food for periods of time is not to torment oneself. When you are really hungry and you simply sit, you will see there is a clear distinction between you and your body. Then when you eat the first morsel of food, there is a feeling of pleasantness spreading through the body. Or when you are really thirsty and you drink a glass of water, the entire being feels pleasant.
Just stay with that pleasantness. It is not about the stomach being full or the thirst being gone. It is about the pleasantness of experience that is caused from within. The mind chooses the experience, but it cannot cause the experience. Something within, what you call the self or the life within you, causes the experience.
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There are two aspects in this context – sensation and experience. Sensual pleasantness is not the real thing because the senses do not create the experience. Let’s say you drink a glass of water. The thirst is being quenched, coolness is spreading in your body, but it is not about that. Enjoy the sensation, but the important thing is the pleasantness that occurs on a deeper level.
Choose something that causes pleasantness within you – whether it is the breeze, the breath, water, food, or anything for that matter. Try to stay with this experience of pleasantness, if only for a few seconds to begin with, without thoughts and emotions. Slowly, you will shift to the other side of the mirror.
When time is rolling, you are a complete product of memory and time. During sandhyas or transition periods, there is a certain break, a certain space, there is a little room to go beyond that. The sandhya kalas, four times a day, are such opportunities. For your own system, the most important transition periods are the moment you fall asleep and the moment you wake up. In this transition, there is a little gap. We want to make use of this gap.
As you come awake, a certain pleasantness spreads through the body. If you remain with this pleasantness at that moment, the entire day, your mind will dip into pleasantness. If your mind does pleasant things to you, you will do pleasant things to the world around you. Similarly, when you are about to fall asleep, pleasantness spreads through the body. It takes a little effort, but if you notice this pleasantness, your sleep will be of a completely different quality, dreamless, because you will be on the other side of the mirror.
Most people only know sensual pleasantness. They are not conscious of the pleasantness of something much deeper happening within themselves. The fundamental idea of doing closed-eye processes, any kind of meditation, is to lower the input for the mirror. If there is no input for longer periods of time, the mind will not reflect anything. Then it will be easier to get to the other side.
What you experience now is just a reflection of the mind. Reality is on the other side. The other side is not a product of time and space. Everything is here and now. The entire cosmos is right here. It is a simple process, but because you are so busy with your own psychological drama, life is completely missed. Because it is missed, life is punishing people with repetitive cycles.
Once you are here, the most important thing is to have a powerful experience of life. Right now, you know everything except life because you are only looking at the mirror of the mind as it reflects the world, not at the basis of all experience within you. With every inhalation, every exhalation, with every step you take, when you sit down or stand up, when you eat or drink – with everything, there is an opportunity to watch a certain pleasantness spread in the system. Not on the sensory level – a much deeper experience.
Most people are unconscious of this experience because their psychological drama, their emotions and thoughts, override it completely. The powerful processes we teach are essentially devices to get to the other side of the mental mirror and have a taste of life – life that is not a product of memory, not a product of time, not an accumulation – life that is the basis of life. There is no difference between life and the source of life. Life is the source of life. There is no place in the universe where creation and the Creator exist separately. A separation between life and God only happens in the human mind.
Every misery that you go through is your own making. The life within knows no such thing as unpleasantness. Unpleasantness can be of the sensory body, or, most often, it is of the mind. Once you fall on the other side of the mirror, whatever happens are just surface waves here and there. Once you know this experientially, you will become a devotee of life. That is what is needed in the world today. Instead of becoming devotees of God who are willing to take the lives of others, people should become devoted to life, which anyway embodies the source of creation.
If you pay attention, somewhere behind this huge, colorful statement that the mind is making, life is constantly making its own statement. You need to get in touch with that. To know this aliveness is the most important dimension. If you experientially know that you are here right now, if you capture one moment, you capture eternity. If you capture one moment, you capture the entire cosmos.