That’s how I’ve been trying to chant my japa lately and I think it’s becoming my standard. I mean that’s what I’m trying to achieve, that’s how I measure failure or success.
The idea is that I don’t want the mind to get in between me as the living entity and the Holy Names. Originally I tried to develop the proper state of mind, like that of a child crying for his mother, for example, or enthusiastic chanting in hope of getting the mercy of the Lord very very soon. To get into those states I had to preach to myself, give myself some reasons, point out at some developments, warn myself of deviations but, mostly, I tried to get into the emotional state of the said child as I imagine an actor would be trying to fit into his assigned role.
That approach to chanting is now out and blank state of mind is in. I figured that rather than imitate some emotions towards the Holy Name I should just sit and listen and let the Name itself do its magic. I figured that the Name and me already have a relationship so I should work on developing what I have rather than imagining what I don’t, and that requires shutting the mind out.
I realize that I don’t feel anything positive in our relationship but that’s probably because the noise produced by my mind muffles whatever I, as a soul, feel towards the Name, and as long as I listen to my mind I’ll never hear the Name itself.
I can’t perceive Krishna with my mind, I can’t think of Krishna, no more than I can see Him with my eyes when I look at the Deity. He cannot be conquered with the power of the mind so it’s not a question of thinking about Him properly, not a question of getting into a proper mood. Of course smaranam helps, it’s one of the legitimate ways to render service, but Krishna and the Holy Name would reveal themselves in the heart, not in the mind. Seeing Him with my mind would be as unlikely as seeing Him before my own eyes.
So, the mind is out, listening is in. Occasionally the mind goes completely blank, and this is the ideal situation, I think. When it goes astray and gets into some heated thoughts about this or that I try to restrain it and just listen again without any thinking, and this is when I notice the contamination of the mind – it’s like the thoughts have left a scent, added some color, left an aftertaste, it’s like observing the traces of the modes of nature. After a while they disappear and the mind goes blank again.
Ideally I want to extend this separation from my mind to the rest of my existence, I want to stay focused on the memory of the Holy Name while my mind and senses go about their usual ways – eating, sleeping, mating and defending. I want to perceive the difference between myself and my mind at all times.
I believe it’s possible in a sense that everybody knows what “carried away” means and I’m trying to take it to the next level where any investment of my consciousness into the activities of my mind is considered the state of “carried away”.
Just like when we chant we see a lot of things but we don’t watch them, we hear lots of other sounds but we don’t listen to them, so I hope I’ll have lots of thoughts without paying any attention to them, being absorbed in the meditation on the Lord.
Or another example – sometimes people get so engrossed in their thoughts that they drive on autopilot, stopping for red lights, changing lanes, overtaking, all the while thinking about something else. Then they woke up and realize that they drove all the way home and they don’t remember any details about their journey. Their minds processed it alright but their consciousness was somewhere else.
I think this is what we have to achieve in regards to Krishna consciousness, too. Our main example, a man in love who goes on about his life but can’t forget his beloved even for a second, is similar to that.
I think that my idea of separating my consciousness from my mind is legitimate. So far perceiving anything in this world means processing it with my mind but that is living on a mental platform and I have to transcend that. It won’t happen via any artificial methods, but if I simply sit and listen to the Holy Name I might feel something in my heart that doesn’t require participation of the mind and then it’s the question of protecting that feeling just like we are supposed to protect the bhakti-lata bija.
Atm I’m prepared to accept that my first feeling will be of solely impersonal nature, in fact it should be considered the necessary stage, the “brahma bhuta” from brahma bhuta prasannatma verse. Actual bhakti would start growing only after that, but that’s another big topic for another day.