“If I try and step back from it all, there’s an underlying sense of an inside and an outside. There is me in here receiving all these impressions – even the thoughts and images seem somehow to be coming into my awareness. But is it real, that sense of me inside, peering out?
It’s as if my mind were a window, with two surfaces, one facing outwards and one facing inwards. I can pay attention to the outer world, whatever passes through the outward-facing surface of the glass, or switch my gaze to inner experiences. I like to think that the world outside the window presents itself just exactly as it is, though I’m gradually learning that my account of it is riddled with self-serving assumptions and simplifications. The room on the inside of the glass is something I don’t often attend to. When I do, it is full of shadows. I tend to assume that ‘I’ dwell there, even that room is my mind. Yet the inner world is not something I directly experience more than the outer. All I can be sure of is the window pane itself – my experience – that is my mind.
Isn’t it wonderful – to find myself here, now, actually aware? What could be more extraordinary? How did it happen? What on earth is going on? And yet we become accustomed to the glow of our own minds, perpetually alight like the Olympic flame. Not only does it seem normal, it can even seem rather stale and limited. Surely it isn’t! I’d like to explore how Buddhism tries to open our eyes to the wonder of the human mind that we each possess – that we each are.”
Robin Cooper, Finding the Mind: A Buddhist View