Oil is heavy; therefore air cannot enter into it, so if you do not look at the vessels and look at only the column of oil, it will appear to be standing still.
The idea behind these illustrations is that ordinarily the mind is continually moving. Every moment there is a change in the mind, however slight it might be, and that movement is called a vrtti. Vrtti means becoming’ or mood’ or mode. Now, the mind of a person who is not accustomed to meditation and who has not become very calm continually moves from one mode to another. It may be that the modes are only slightly different, but often you will notice that your mind jumps from one thing to a completely different thing. Through the practice of meditation or other efforts at quieting the mind, you find you can make the mind have the same kind of vrtti from moment to moment; it does not change. When you have achieved that state, you have become well established in meditation.
Now, when meditation has progressed, you find that you have become somewhat separated from the body. At that time you will recognize that you used to feel as if you were in a room the walls of which were pressing in upon you. Just imagine what a horror it would be if you were living in a room and found the four walls coming towards you and ultimately pressing against you from all sides! Even the thought is frightening, and the experience certainly would be terrible. But that is exactly our present condition. This body is a room in which we are living.
I say we. Who are we? We are the Self. Here I should remind you of one of the important teachings of our philosophy. We are, as it were, made up of three different entities: the physical body, then the mind of course, truly speaking, we are not made up of the body or the mind, but in our ignorance we think so and the third entity is our real Self. In Sanskrit we use the word Atman, which can be translated as the Self or the Spirit. The Spirit is different from the mind even at the mind’s best, and of course it is different from the body. The Spirit is self-sustained, independent. It does not depend upon the mind or upon the body, and if you ask what its characteristics are it is all-consciousness. If you think that without the cooperation of the mind there cannot be any consciousness within you no! Rather, when your mind is sometimes conscious, that is because the light of the Self, which is allconsciousness, is reflecting itself there.