Who am ‘I’? or rather what is ‘I’?
This question, if followed up earnestly, makes liberation from mental torment available to any one of us right Now.
We give so much time and energy to the handling of the ‘outside world’, but how much do we honestly give back to ourselves?
Print out this paper and reflect on each of the following points over lunch or when you’re sitting on the train going to work. You owe it to yourself. The conscious recognition of what is being pointed out, if felt genuinely, will bear fruit but don’t expect anything just watch, write down what you notice and please give me some feedback.
So let’s move inward together, one step at a time. Read slowly and contemplate each point, confirming as you go. Come on lets try it out;
- Are you able to watch the Body? The movement of breath, sensory information, growth and so on, are all of these changes observable by something more stable or not?
For example, we say, “My body is tired”, who or what is this ‘I’ that is aware of fatigue in the body?
- Most will say, Mind, the HQ. So let’s enquire into this one.
- The first noticing is that during the waking state Thoughts arise. They come and go. They may stick around for a while if it concerns ‘should do’s & shouldn’t do’s’, worries and desires or even excitement and aspiration, all of which create Emotions (Energy in Motion) yet they always pass or change form however intimate they may feel.
In whose presence does this appearance and disappearance occur?
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- Obviously “Me”. Kind of a dumb question right? Okay, let’s examine further;
Who or what makes up this sense of ‘me’? Are there any qualities attached to this? It cannot exclusively be the elemental body, we just addressed that.
- So, Personality then? Which is made up of what?
Attributes, information, definitions?
But they’re constantly changing, are they not? Like a tapestry that goes on and on.
Have you ever experienced fads or an complete turn around in religious belief or way of life? Does it ever stop?
“I am a banker”, “I was a Christian, now I am a Muslim”, “I am a biker”, “I am spiritual”.
It’s like having a personal wardrobe in which we are always changing in and out of our preferred garments depending on our disposition, environment and stage in life, even the maturing of intellect and belief affect our garb.
Either way, it is information about yourself that is being presented to the world, resulting in labeling, judgements and ‘life story’ that are the offspring of attachment to such attributes that make up the sense of person.
But we are aware of the sense of personality that is always in the process of becoming something better, shopping for new ideas and throwing away old ones. This coming and going of concepts, is observed by what?
We must therefore be subtler and more stable than our concept chameleon selves.
- But isn’t mind just being aware of mind? No, because you cannot know yourself objectively. Self image, whether expressed externally or contemplated internally is still an object of perception.
What, therefore is the subject?
Take a moment to reflect on this, using the attention to notice any inner movement, while always coming back to this question in relation to whatever appears in front of you.
What is the feeling?
Give me some feedback.
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- Allow some time to watch. If there a simmering down of mental waves this is good. If the quivering Attention jumps out again into thoughts or some distraction, there’s no need to feed it by judging where it goes, just notice, including the reflex to identify with some-thing.
Always, we observe where the attention goes and are therefore the stability in which it returns. Just remain as the awareness of it.
What is this?
Most of our lives we’ve given thoughts so much energy there’s momentum that comes with it because we have assumed our position as the thinker of thoughts, which is also just a thought. To stop this locomotive there’s going to be a breaking distance, gradual or immediate.
- Regardless of speed, all you have to do is anchor yourself as the Witness by simply recognizing that it is there. Does this witness possess anything tangible? If it does, what perceives this quality or form?
Through this simple noticing, inner space can open up because we aren’t so identified and caught up with thoughts and sensations that arise. Just be aware of what is stirred up and tries to catch your attention. Remain as the witness.
- If there’s a sense of ‘block’ just be the one who is aware of ‘block’. If resistance comes, who is the one resisting? Any form, including the voice in your head, is still the object of your perception and is not stable.
What sees this fleeting and erratic movement?
When this much has been made intrinsically clear, we can allow time for our previously over active mind to settle down soberly and see whatever changes occur. Energetically, psychologically or whatever. But don’t wait for an effect, just notice the unburdening from the weight of thought as you anchor as the witness.
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- With the space of stillness comes also the receptivity to look deeper. Is there anything that escapes your witnessing?
Noticing now, that the functioning of Perception is here by itself as well.
- We are also aware of the fact that we are Conscious in which Time, Karma, Memory and Relationships take place. It is currently present without any effort to sustain the trinity of experiencing, the experiencer and experienced, yet the feeling of ‘I’ remains.
What is this?
- This ‘I’ can observe any-thing but where are we then, if we cannot be known objectively? It can’t be ‘my mind’ because we know by now, that we are the witness of mind in all it’s diversity. We are aware of the space around us and inside us, therefore we are more subtle than even Space.
Contemplate this. Drink it in deeply and allow time for digestion.
- One may notice new or different states emerging such as lightness or deep meditative insight as a by product of this intelligent looking. This is good, the fragrance of natural being, refining and soaking in itself consciously. Enjoy but don’t cling, for the Difference in States is observed by what?
Let this understanding unfold internally by itself, through intuitive feeling and life experience. There will be a leveling out, a recalibrating or ‘cooling off’ period where the heat of mind abates and a more balanced, harmonious way is being revealed. It is not something new, we are just becoming conscious of it, as the cloud of thought begins to dissipate.
Just don’t think about it. Feel. Look. Confirm.
- This inherent being-ness is what we already are and is synonymous with Presence. It is exactly the same in unconscious deep sleep, where no solid sense of an individual ‘I’ exists, except in the waking state we are now consciously aware of it.
It is somehow recognized inwardly, yet it isn’t something tangible that can be ‘seen’, which leaves us with the final question, The Master Key;
- Can the perceiver be perceived?
It’s the same as asking can an eye ball see itself? No, it cannot, yet there is awareness of it, isn’t there? So, where does this leave ‘I’?
Since we are at the core of experiencing but cannot see ourselves phenomenally, we must therefore be witnessing as no-thing, form-less, quality-less, the invisible – inside the visible world.
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- This formless ‘I’ is also the same as this present moment unfolding is it not?
Therefore ‘I’ and The Source of creation is the same.
All sentient beings share this ‘I’ centered life experience as well, therefore all forms are in essence formless too. Is there any separation in the formless realm?
Find out. Feel it.
There is only One and it is Self Aware.
- Your own Self is the play of existence, like writing on the waters of eternal being. Go look at yourself in the mirror.
Your reflection on the glass is the same thing as the formless Self using the reflection of consciousness to see itself tangibly in all it’s diversity.
This is Life. The dance of your own Self.
All prophets, spiritual practices and religious sentiment, point to this because in formless unity we see how beautiful and precious this Life is because it is our own infinite Self underlying all forms.
Many have called this One by various names; God, the Great Spirit, Allah, the Absolute and so on but names are still forms pointing to what is beyond themselves.
What we are is Name-less, Purity Itself, beyond any concept made up of words.
God is silence, God is the Grace of this understanding and it’s yourself alone. Not as a person but as the totality of existence in which the formless gives birth to form. That is why it is all so sacred because it’s You.
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- What to do about this?
Nothing. The recognition of the infinite and timeless within is enough to wake up inside the dream of separation and begin breaking the chains of attachment to thought, clinging to the mortal body and belief in being apart from Oneself.
To simply feel this deeply in the Heart and to be an embodiment of this understanding is the highest gift to the world because everything you express will be outpouring from this place of knowing.
Therefore every act, thought and word will be of benefit to others, because you are in harmony with the whole.
Marinade in this knowing and abide in this natural state forever more, watching your Divine, natural expression flow and unfold with ease.
Just remain as that which is aware of even the sense ‘I am’ and enjoy yourself.
As Freedom, Happiness and Peace.