Something ever present, the bigger than the biggest, deeper than the deepest, subtler than the subtlest. You can add many such superlative adjectives to this. But this is also the least bothered topic. Mainly because, it is quite difficult to figure what exactly it is. While everything is known to your mind, Atman is unknown to it. The understanding fails, since mind can understand only things in front of it and not beyond it.
Despite the fact that your mind is multi-dimensional in its knowing, it somehow fails to recognize the presence of Atman which is placed so close to it, right behind its back. Somewhat like you, who can see objects only in front of you and not at your back. Only because your eyes are structurally placed in such a way to see only the front, unless you are james bond who can shoot a hoodlum at his back, while wining and dining, without turning his head even an inch. You can only do a bit of guess work about whats at your back.
Similarly, your mind is trained to see only to the front always. But Atman is placed, very unfortunately, a little deeper than the mind. Just as how you need to turn around to see the objects behind you, the mind also needs to turn around to see the presence of this Atman (consciousness). But turning around seem such a big challenge presently. Only because the mind is busy chasing the objects in the front.
Vaguely speaking, Atman is like the sky. The clouds beneath are like many thoughts that passes by, what we call as mind. The earth is like your body and the atmoshpheric air is your breath. Just like sky, your Atman is quiet. Does not do anything. Almost jobless like. Though sky has provided space to accommodate, the earth, air and the clouds, it somehow does not claim so.
Just as how every planet and every star has occupied some space of this endless sky, in a similar manner, all living beings, animals, plants, you and I, occupy the individual Atman. Though sky is the same, still divided by different countries differently, as Indian skies, European skies etc, Consciousness is divided by living beings individually, called as Atman. The same Atman of all beings put together, as a collective consciousness, it is called as Brahman. Like the skies of all the nations put together is called as international skies or world space.
Just as how the clouds are busy crisscrossing and showering rains around the earth and not much bothered about the sky above, the mind also is busy catering to the body and its needs always and is not aware of the Atman(Inner self, Consciousness). But if you think that because of this indifferent attitude by others, Atman is angry with all, then you are so damn wrong. Atman is just not bothered what goes on anywhere. It only provides space to accommodate everything. You too are accommodated a bit in that. Just like how you occupy space, which is both outside you and also inside you, this Atman too is both outside and inside you. Everyone takes up a bit of this outside and inside. Inside it is called as Atman(individual consciousness), outside you it is called as Brahman(Total Consciousness).
Disciple : Do i have a Atman ?
Master : Do you have a tongue?
Disciple : Oh sure ! Otherwise
I cant be asking this question !
Master : Similarly, without Atman
you cannot be even talking,
leave alone questioning !
One thing you need to be very clear is, though Atman or Consciousness does not create anything by a plan, this whole universe got created in the presence of Consciousness. Just like sun, which does not 'send' rays to the plants to keep them alive. It is just standing there. But the plants 'derive' the rays of the sun and make a living out of it.
Sun is least bothered whether your clothes are dried or not. Only you find the right place and time to dry your clothes under sun. In fact the sun may not even know that clouds have covered your city and did not allow its rays to enter, as a result your clothes got wet in the rain. Sun will not fight those clouds away. Because even the clouds have taken the help of same sunlight to take birth. Without sun, even the rains don't exist.
Lets take another step further. Even the nonchalant and 'I don't care' sun took birth deriving from this all pervading Consciousness only. The existence of this sun may not be even known to the Consciousness. Just like you know who james bond is and what he is capable of, but he need not know you at all. Don't feel bad about this. You cant say ' why should i know someone, when that someone does not know me?' You will be at loss and not Consciousness. In spiritual terms, not knowing this hidden presence of Consciousness is known as ignorance(avidya).
So what should be done now ? Simple !!! Your mind needs to make a U turn and cultivate acquaintance with its source called Consciousness. This U turn is what meditation is all about. Brief period of time when you shut everything the mind already knows and explore the unknown deeper inside. Easier said than done. But with a proper theoretical understanding, the practical meditation is as easy as yawning before sleep. The only purpose of meditation is to bring your mind united with the inner self (Consciousness) and the rest, getting rich, getting good job, finding suitable partner for marriage is all a plain hogwash.
What happens if your mind met Mr. Consciousness? You will not hit the jackpot in las vegas. But you would find a sense of fulfillment which no casino around the world can give. It would not then matter to you, whether you are rich or poor, big or small. Just because it does not matter to you anymore, the best of things might just begin to happen in your life.
Conscious Connexion M O K S H A - J U N K Y A R D