Saturday, May 7, 2011

Smiles from the Subtle Mind

I love how newborn babies smile and laugh in their sleep.  I caught the tail end of one of Connor's smiles the other day.  As I watch him smile long before he knows how to in his waking mind I am reminded of a Buddhist teaching on the levels of mind. 

Buddhists teach there are three levels of mind or consciousness: gross, subtle and very subtle.  The gross mind is our waking mind; it is tied to and influenced by the body.  It experiences the senses as well as delusions such as anger and attachment.  The gross mind dissolves into the subtle mind when we die and its memories are not carried from life to life.  The subtle mind serves as a conduit from the senses to the very subtle mind.  The very subtle mind is the clear light of mind; it is a blissful mind free of delusions.  Through meditation we can tap into the very subtle mind and it is through this mind that enlightenment will ultimately be obtained.  It is also believed that our gross mind dissolves into the very subtle mind when we sleep.  It makes me happy to think that Connor, even though he doesn't know how to smile when awake, experiences the bliss of the clear light of mind while he sleeps.