Mind is a Projector

Yes, mind is a projector. One of the main functions of the mind is to project the world ‘out there’. This does seem drastic and counter intuitive. Our experience tells us that there is a universe with objects. We have been taught that light travels from these objects and hit the eye and an optical image is formed in the retina. This optical signal is transmitted to the brain. Something happens in the brain and we experience the world out there. In this process, there are many questions which have never been answered.

  • How this optical signal is converted to the image we experience?
  • What power within the brain converts this signal to an image?
  • How does the witness view this image and fundamentally who is really witnessing this image?

Science has never explained these issues. We therefore must look for a solution elsewhere. In this respect the teaching of Vedanta is helpful. Vedanta teaches just the opposite; it teaches that there are mental waves or ‘vrittis’ in the individual mind. When these mental waves come in the presence of ‘Atma’ or the Observer (which is our inner core), these mental waves are projected out as the world with objects.

To justify this, in my post, ‘Projection – The Only Truth’, I have given the following 5 different explanations, which supports the fact that we indeed project the external world with all its components. All these explanations are based on science and logic. You must read this post to be fully convinced.

  1. By using Science
  2. By using logic
  3. By using Math’s
  4. By using Quantum Physics
  5. By using Neuroscience

This is very similar to the working of a projector that projects a movie on screen. It is easy to compare this step to an actual digital projector. Without being too technical, there are two major parts to any projector. One is the light source or bulb and the other is the content which must be projected. The mind also has a similar structure:

  • A Bulb of Awareness
  • Content which must be projected

Let us discuss these two parts in more detail

Bulb of Awareness

Awareness is the inner most core of any living being. It is like a bulb shinning within our inner core. If any object, it could be an image, sound, touch or feeling, comes in the presence of this bulb of Awareness, you will be aware of that experience. Here are some examples of awareness we experience daily.

How do we know the tree is green? Because we are aware of it. 

How do we know sugar is sweet? Because we are aware of it. 

How do we know we have two legs and two hands? Because we are aware of it. 

How do we know the weight of the chair is 20 lbs.? Because we are aware of it. 

How do we know the smooth touch of silk? Because we are aware of it. 

How do we know we are listening to music? Because we are aware of it. 

The common thread to all these questions is Awareness. It would seem Awareness is a prerequisite to observe any object. Without awareness, we would not know any objects which are perceived by the 5 senses organs – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. These objects from the sensory organs must encounter Awareness, then only we can observe the object. For an analogy, think of the sun. When there is no light from the sun, you cannot see anything but in the presence of the light everything becomes visible. In the same way when any form comes in the presence of the light of Awareness, we become aware of the object. If there is no light of Awareness, you will perceive nothing, not even the sun.  

Awareness is the most powerful force in the universe. It has the power to connect with a form present in the mind and fill up the object with Awareness. If you analyze Awareness, you will conclude that Awareness is made up of a Subject, Intelligence and Object with the following functions

  1. There must be a Subject, who is Aware of the experience. This subject is the knower of the Awareness
  2. There must be an Object, which must be experienced. This object is the known part of the Awareness
  3. There must be Intelligence by which the subject gets to know the object. This is the knowing part of the Awareness

Knower, Known and Knowing/Intelligence are the 3 powers of Awareness. It must be clear that

  • Awareness = Subject + Object + Intelligence
  • Power of Awareness = Power of Knower + Power of Knowing + Power of Known

Awareness is made of Subject, Intelligence and Object and it has three different powers – Knower, Knowing and Known. It must be understood that the Subject, Intelligence and Object and the three powers are not something outside in the world, but they are within Awareness and make up Awareness. If any one of them is missing, awareness will not work and will be incomplete.

  • If there is an object to be observed but there is no subject, there will be no awareness, as there is no one to see the object.
  • If there is a subject but no object to see, there will no awareness as the subject has no object to observe
  • If there is an object but the subject has no way of knowing what this object is, no awareness will take place. This knowing must have intelligence.

Wherever there is awareness, the Subject, Intelligence and Object must be present with all the three powers.

Our inner core is full, complete and it is stand alone. For Awareness to be full and complete, it must be Self-Aware. Self-Awareness means that the ‘Awareness is aware of Awareness’. Another way to put this is that ‘Self is aware of the Self’. In Self-Awareness, the subject is Awareness and the object is Awareness. Awareness plays the role of subject and object. In other words, both the subject and object are the same. There is one entity only which is non-dual. This complete, self-standing Self Awareness is our inner core. There is no separation between the subject and object – it is one. It is Self-Shining. This Self-Shinning Awareness is the Bulb of Awareness and it is our inner core. It is not dependent upon anything else and it generates its own light of Awareness. And it is the Bulb of Awareness.  

Content Which Must be Projected

We have just seen that the Bulb of Awareness or Self-Awareness is the power source for the projection of content. What about the content which must be projected? Vedanta teaches us that there are individual minds and the total of individual minds can be called the cosmic mind. The cosmic mind is the source for content. A good way to understand this is to compare this with Google Maps. I think most of us use Google Maps. Somewhere in the cloud, there is a complete software or code for Google Maps. This software will show the roads for almost every city and country in the world. If I am at a certain location and you are in another location, Google Maps will show the map for that location only.

Cosmic Map is like Google Maps but more extensive, complex, smarter and dynamic.

  • Cosmic Map covers the entire universe. It is extremely detailed and covers every inch of the universe. There is no place which is left out. It cannot be more complete. Every tree, every mountain, every planet and every galaxy are covered by the cosmic map.
  • Every perspective and view are covered in the cosmic map. If you are flying at 30,000 feet, that view from the window is covered. If you are underwater and look upwards, that view is covered. If you are moving in a train, that view is covered. If you go into space, that view is covered. If you are underground inside a cave, the view is covered. There is nothing which is missing in this cosmic map.
  • The cosmic map is not static. It is dynamic. Everything in this universe ages. Every living and nonliving being in this universe ages. As time flows, every object in the universe grows and changes. Also, every object ages differently and for a different duration. The cosmic map reflects this for every object in this ever-changing universe.
  • The cosmic map is always up to date. If you cut a tree branch or move a stone or if anyone makes any change to any aspect anywhere in the universe, the cosmic map will reflect those changes instantaneously without delay. The cosmic map is never out of date. It is updated continuously and immediately. 
  • Object version in the cosmic map keeps changing. The cosmic map is made up of many objects. This may be easier to explain by a simple example. If there is a tree you are seeing, which is 100 feet away. Light will take 0.1 µs (10-6 seconds) to reach you, so the tree you are seeing is not a ‘now’ version of the tree but a 0.1 µs younger version of the tree. Now, if you move and see the same tree from 600 feet away. What happens? The tree is further away, light will take 0.60 µs to reach you. You are not seeing the same version; you are seeing a different version of the same tree. This will apply to all the objects in the cosmic map. The objects which are closer to you, light will take less time, so you will see a younger version of the object. The objects which are further away, light will take more time to reach you, so you will see an older version of that object. The cosmic map is complex – if you keep moving around, the object version in the cosmic map will keep changing. This aspect is pre-programmed in the cosmic map.

The cosmic mind stores the complete map of the universe. The individual mind covers a subset of the map. This would depend upon what the individual person wants to view. The content within the individual mind is used for the projection.

This content when it comes in presence of the Bulb of Awareness, that content is projected out there as the world with objects.

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