Mind Alone Creates Differences
The eyes present before the mind some forms or images. It is the mind that creates good and bad forms. It says, This is good. This is ugly. This is beautiful. Here comes bondage and trouble. Good and bad, ugly and beautiful are pure mental creations. If mind can create, it can destroy also. Similarly, the ears bring some sound vibrations before the mind. It is the mind that says: This is praise. This is censure. Eyes and ears are not to be blamed at all. They are innocent. Mind causes the mischief.
Mental Cognition Takes Place Serially
Mind can think of only limited things. Mind cannot think of greenness without thinking of a green object. Mind is without parts, divisions, compartments. It can have only one idea at a time. The human mind has the power of attending to only one object at a time, although it is able to pass from one object to another with a marvelous degree of speed, so rapidly in fact, that some point it could grasp several things at a time. Mind is a gate-keeper or guard who can allow only one person, one kind of sense-vibration at a time into the mental factory. You cannot hear and see at the same time. The mind can have only one idea at a time. But it moves with such tremendous lightning speed that an ordinary man thinks that he can have several ideas at a time.
Perception through the finite mind or cognition or experience takes place serially and not simultaneously. Simultaneous knowledge can only be had in Samadhi (Self Realized State) where past and future merge in the present. Only a Yogin will have simultaneous knowledge. A man of the world with a finite mind can have only knowledge in succession. Two thoughts, however closely related to each other, cannot exist at the same time. The nature of the internal organism prevents our having more than one aspect of an object at each instant presented to consciousness. Though several objects may come in contact simultaneously with the different sense-organs, yet the mind acts like a gatekeeper who can admit only one person at a time through the gate. The mind can send only one kind of sensation at a time into the mental factory inside for the manufacture of a decent percept and a nice concept.
When the mind gives attention and is attached to the sense of sight, it can only see. It cannot hear. It cannot hear and see at the same time. It is everybody’s daily experience. When your mind is wholly absorbed in deep study of some interesting book, you cannot hear even if a man shouts, because the mind was not there (with the sense of hearing). When you seriously think of a problem, you can neither see nor hear nor feel. All the Senses are detached from the mind. There is only the process of inquiry or investigation by the mind.
The best philosophers and seers, and sages, the best authorities, Eastern and Western, hold to the “Single Idea” theory as being correct. They are unanimously agreed that the mind cannot actually attend to more than one thing at a time, but when it appears to be doing so, it is only moving with prodigious rapidity backward and forward, from one end to the other. A spark of light presents the appearance of a continuous circle of light if it is made to rotate rapidly. Even so, though the mind can attend to only one thing at a time, either hearing or seeing or smelling, though it can admit only one kind of sensation at a time, yet we are led to believe that it does several actions simultaneously, because it moves from one object to another with tremendous velocity, so rapidly that its successive attention and perception appear as a simultaneous activity.
Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda