Your thinking is governed by a very small part of your consciousness. The commerce of human life does not need more than a small amount of consciousness. Sometimes you become spectator of your own consciousness and of what is happening therein.
Delving into consciousness is the privilege of those who possess moral courage, patience and initiative, for consciousness is as infinite as the universe. Since we are used to thinking and acting within certain limits only, we are unable to perceive the limitless expanse and depth of consciousness.
The raw material of intellectual knowledge is supplied by the sense organs that have their own limitations. They can establish contact with gross things only. The mind works on the information supplied by the sense organs and the intellect organises and arranges it. Knowledge, which the mind and intellect construct, is often alloyed with attachments and aversions, with feelings of pleasure and pain and with hundred and one other things. How much value should we put on such knowledge?
What we ordinarily call knowledge is adulterated knowledge. We value it because we have not been able to go beyond its limitations; we do not know that there is a state of mind in which thinking does not exist. Only when we arrive at a state of no-thought we will be able to understand what we really are. Thinking has a gravitational force and it is only when this force has been eliminated that we can realise the value of thoughtlessness.
How to come out of the gravitational field of thinking? We are swamped with sounds, forms and bodies. They keep bombarding us and sowe remain conscious of one thing only — our body, which is itself a form in which the self is trapped. We cannot see beyond the body.
Philosophers have tried to prove the existence or otherwise of self. Assertion and denial also involve thinking. How can the self, which is beyond thinking, be known and realised or denied and disproved by thinking? The self is not an object in the world of thought. That is why all our attempts at discussing nature of self have failed. Only those who have raised themselves above the level of thoughts can speak with certainty about the nature of self.
The problem is how to see the formless self and understand the nature of pure consciousness. The relation between form and essence is the central question of epistemology. We produce butter from milk and scents from flowers through churning and distillation. But how can the soul be separated from the body? How to separate the infinite from the finite?
We can know the soul with the help of its reflection. Sadhana of ChhayaPurusa is a yogic practice in which you stand with your face towards the sun. Then look at your shadow. Close your eyes and again look at the sun. Repeat. Ultimately you see your own figure in the sky and the reflection of the sky on your shadow.
We can see the soul also, but this is possible only in moments of thoughtlessness, when we neither hear sounds nor see objects. Preksha meditation is a process through which we can get rid of thoughts, sounds and forms and enter into the state of cessation of thought. Then we can get a glimpse of the soul.