I Am

I am reading (skimming, really) the book I Am That by Maharaj, and he says to keep in mind “I Am” as a means of connecting with the inner source of all.

The last few things I have read have explained that our underlying Awareness and the observer are actually one and the same, with awareness being the base of who we are (and in some way, the base of everything) and the observer being an parsed off piece of this global awareness. As I understand Adyashanti’s meditation practice, it is actually focusing the observer on our underlying awareness, and in the process incorporating this Awareness as our own. In fact, he suggests asking “Who Am I”, and then when the I answers, which is our Awareness, we can observe that more easily. Which I have found to be true.

Maharaj reflects a similar idea, but he keeps harping on the idea of “I Am” as being the key to entering into this reflection. At first, I thought he was talking about the same “I Am” that Adya referred to. Finding that internal “I” of Awareness. {Side Note: The “I” of Awareness is not to be confused with the “I” which is a creation of the Ego. The difference being that the “I” of the ego has attributes that it has assumed, while the “I” of Awareness just is pure awareness of being.}

However, as I thought more about “I Am” which is what he said I should do, I ended up in a place of Decartes “I think, therefore, I am.” Which, though I don’t really know what Decartes meant by that, I always assumed to mean that I can prove I exist by the fact that I think I am, at least to myself. And that led me to another understanding of “I Am” which is one of the whole world being mine. Everything that exists in the world is mine, since from my perspective it comes into existence. This doesn’t negate the fact that the entire world is yours too, by the way, since you too can say “I Am”.

Having said all of that, I think that the truth is somewhere in between. I can taste it, but I’m not there yet. I was hoping that writing this post would clarify the connection between this outer facing “I Am” and the inner facing one, but the truth escapes me still.

Recapping, and hoping for an insight, I can use “I Am” to connect with my inner sense of Awareness of being, and I can also use this same “I Am” to give birth to my entire world, through awareness.

The Eastern Teachers claim that it is this Awareness of being is one of everything, and by tapping this awareness we are then interconnected to everything. There is a loose connection to using “I Am” to reflect the entire world that I can find.

Remember the other day in the postscript when I spoke about how we seek to know we exist, since we actually know we do, but sometimes don’t quite feel that way? The idea being that when we know something in our core, but don’t feel it in our mind, this dissonance forces a search. If I am correct, then what is the manifestation of the fact that we all know that we are the entire world, but don’t really know it? Of course, it must be wholeness. The fact that we don’t feel complete, and search for things that will make us feel whole or complete us.

One other thing that is important to note, is that when we look deep we see that we are everything (at least according to the Eastern Teachers, and perhaps my own experience as well), and when we look outwards, we can see that in many ways we are everything in our own world, but in between our mind sits upon it’s throne of separation, pushing us to approach the world as a distinct entity, and not really in line with how we intuitively understand the world and likely view the world. This is a very tricky dissonance and likely the source of much internal conflict.

Finding True Nourishment

The other day, I wrote that “it is one of my foundational beliefs that much of that we search for outside of ourselves is due to the fact that we know from subtle internal queues that there are certainly internal truths. Due to the fog of our mind, we can’t quite reach these truths, but we know intuitively that they are true, and since we can’t finding them within, we search outside of ourselves. One of these internal truths is that we exist. We look outside for self validation that we exist, until we can find that truth for ourselves on the inside. The other three that come to mind are wholeness, love, and oneness.”

I wanted to reflect on this idea a little more because I think that ultimately, this is an evasive truth.

I yearn for different things in my emotional life. Love, happiness, purpose, come to immediate mind. I think most people share these yearnings, and chase after them as well. Let’s take a moment and ask why.

In the past, I would have assumed that these were things that we either came to desire due to nature or nurture. For example, we want love since we have evolved (nature) to have someone who looks out for us, as a means of protection. Or perhaps because we had love growing up and it felt good (nurture).

While both of these may be true, it doesn’t really explain why love (and other things I seem to chase) are so very embedded. After all, I have evolved to desire food, and perhaps even told to eat healthy, but I don’t really chase food per se at the core of my existance. I mean, I do, but I don’t, really. Food doesn’t move me to manipulate life to get it.

Perhaps the reason that these yearnings are so deep is in fact because we know them to be true, in our inner essence but there is a dissonance between what we know to be true, and what we find in life. Of course, this is due to the fact that we are somehow cut off from our inner feeling of love (and happiness, and purpose).

It also explains why these are like buckets that can never be filled. As soon as they are filled we want more, more, more. Because we know that certain things are infinite, in the core of our being, so we are trying to find that infinite source outside ourselves, which never works.

And it is only by looking within and finding and connecting with the source of all love (etc), that we can fill this void truly. So think about those things that are insufficient in your life, that you chase after, and see if you can find them in abundance within. Perhaps that really is the answer.

Control and Paradox

Paradox of origin is something that I have been bumping into lately. Think of this paradox as the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. I’ve been watching it on Netflix, through a show called Dark which assumes paradox in it’s premise, and it could be that it applies well in lessons I have been learning around meditation.

As I mentioned the other day, giving up control allows for freedom. I was questioning why I was meditating earlier today, since in truth, pretty much action that we take is due to trying to control some aspect of our lives. Put another way, I was questioning if though my new meditation practice, I am trying to control something, which is yet another restriction of the freedom that I am trying to find through giving up control.

What immediately came to mind is that there is a difference in trying to control outcomes versus controlling experiences. Meaning that am I meditating to achieve a certain outcome (which may or may not happen), or am I just meditating for the experience of mediation. I assumed that the outcome line of reasoning is one of control, whereas the experience is about how I am choosing to exist in the moment and thus not really about control.

However, if I am honest, why am I choosing meditation over taking a walk? What made “me” decide between the two options if not some exertion of control, of how I choose to have one outcome over another, and thus lack of freedom? My truth detector says that even when I peer more carefully at the continuum of outcome to experiences, I can’t find a differentiation. It seems to me that any action I choose is in some way control.

However, it could be that there is room for origin paradox (assuming that there is such a thing) to help explain how this might work. That through some aspect of control, we can give up control, and that through some aspect of control we are able to give up control. Both chicken and egg exist all at once, and bring each other into existence.

And thinking about this, it might just make sense. For without control, there could be no lack of control, thus they both have to exist simultaneously, and paradoxically perhaps in their existence with each other they both cancel each other out, and seize to exist.

Lessons on Meditation

I learned about “being” meditation, where the focus in not on my breath, rather just on focusing on the inner sense of being. What is interesting about this meditation is that the mind no longer has a job. There is no longer internal dialog of “I’m focusing on my breath. I’m focusing on my breath.” Rather it seems to quiet the mind so long as my focus remains on my internal sense of being.

What was interesting about it, is that I came to realize how much work keeping up my ego really is. The world that the mind creates is constantly changing and churning. And this is tiresome. So the welcome relief from not actually thinking about anything, was quite nice for a change.

I also noticed that my ego doesn’t want to just be; it wants to churn, since without the churning, my own sense of self that I try so hard to prop up dissipates. Who am I, if I am not anything, after all? Which is what the focus on being shows, that there is still peaceful existence that I can find outside of my own self.

Put another way, this meditation offers peace FROM mind, instead of peace OF mind. I’m guessing that peace of mind will come from better CBT work, or other methods of manipulating the assumptions that bring me pain. But meditation offer peace from mind, which is a more whole peace in many ways. It does leave me with a question of if this is truly peace, since I’m not sure there can be peace without war, so this experience might better be described as just touching life itself.

P.S. It is one of my foundational beliefs that much of that we search for outside of ourselves is due to the fact that we know from subtle internal queues that there are certainly internal truths. Due to the fog of our mind, we can’t quite reach these truths, but we know intuitively that they are true, and since we can’t finding them within, we search outside of ourselves. One of these internal truths is that we exist. We look outside for self validation that we exist, until we can find that truth for ourselves on the inside. The other three that come to mind are wholeness, love, and oneness.

Simultaneous Living

It seems that there are two distinct places where I can focus my attention. The first is the world of the mind connected to thinking, which we commonly refer to as ego, which from a young age has created a separate and distinct sense of self from everything that surrounds me. I am and I exist distinctly. The other is from the connection to the underlying consciousness that tends to be broader and interconnected with all of the universe. In this place, there is no I, there just is interconnection with everything.

Having said that, in my own experience, the interconnection did seem to happen from a perspective I. Meaning that I was interconnected with everything else. And in that experience, the I did seem to melt away into the expansiveness of everything, but since it has been so long in my memory, the I had the experience, so I can’t say with absolute certainty that the I disappeared. In fact, this is an experience I have been trying for years (without success) to return to and experience with greater presence of mind.

Regardless of if there is no place for I in the world of consciousness, it certainly is a different mental space, which just seems to exist and is stable, steady, and quiet, unlike the the part of my mind connected to thinking, which is constant, and noisy, and loud. And it is this part of my mind, that pushes itself to the forefront, either by design, or perhaps habit.

On an aside, thinking back, what I am now referring to as consciousness, I had previously noticed, but thought of as the border of the subconscious. In the past, I had thought of it like a membrane, where thoughts could go back and forth, but the underlying reality was a black box that my conscious mind could not access. I mention this since my mind model is constantly changing, and integrating new information, and am not sure if I might be incorrect before or now, or in both cases. As I look within, it is also possible that both of these are true, and are just of different focuses within the mind.

Running with my current thinking, though, there does seem to be a quiet part of my mind that I can access that is the exact opposite of the noisy part of my mind. When I can quiet my noisy mind, and sink into the peace of that place, I can sit with wholeness, or more correctly I am whole for a few minutes while I visit.

I guess the point of this post is really to tease out how diametrically opposite these two aspects of self are from each other. Thinking more about that, perhaps without the quietness I would not notice the noise, which makes a lot of sense. It is only with the contrasting background of quietness that we can ever hear anything, or it is only by experiencing the noise, that we can notice the silence that sits between it.