Question: How can we learn to feel that we are the soul and not the mind or the body?

Sri Chinmoy: In India there was a great spiritual Master named Sri Ramana Maharshi. He used to compare the body to a banana leaf. In India, especially in the Himalayas, on festive occasions we eat our meal on a banana leaf and after we have eaten we throw away the leaf. Sri Ramana Maharshi used to say that the soul utilises the body in this way, leaving the body at its choice hour and discarding it as a now-useless instrument. It is the soul that has the eternal connection with the Supreme, and not the mind or the body.

In order to realise that you are not the mind, that you are the soul, first you have to go beyond the mind. There are two ways to do this. One is to go up through the various levels of the mind and then pass beyond. The other process is to bring down Light from the higher planes into the mind. When the higher Light descends into the mind, at that time the mind does not remain an obstacle to our inner realisation of our conscious oneness with our soul's existence.

If you want to feel that you are the soul and not the mind, you can do so through contemplation or through intense faith. If you can meditate or concentrate on the spiritual centre called sahasrara, you can learn to feel that you are the soul and not the body. This centre is at the top of the head. If you can concentrate there successfully, you will see your limited physical consciousness slowly and steadily going out of your physical body. At that time, the physical mind which is binding you will also leave you. Then what you will have within, without and around you will be the soul. You will feel at that time that you are the soul and not the body or mind.

Another way to go beyond the mind is to concentrate on the third eye, the eye of vision. If you can focus all your attention there, you will have flashes of intuition which will enable you to see beyond the mind. You can also concentrate on the heart. If you can concentrate there properly and soulfully, the inner flame which is aspiration will climb up from the heart centre to the throat centre, then to the third eye, and finally to sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus at the crown of the head. When this spiritual centre is fully opened, automatically you go beyond the mind.

It is usually difficult to concentrate on the third eye, because there you do not get immediate joy or a sense of fulfilment. But if you concentrate on the heart, you will feel love, peace, fulfilment and boundless joy. You may concentrate or meditate on the third eye for about six months and feel the whole time that you are walking in a barren desert. If you are prepared to walk on a barren desert and continue and continue in spite of the frustration, then you can try it. But if you concentrate on the heart, on the day that you sincerely and soulfully start, you will get a sense of joy, peace and accomplishment.