Sunday, October 24, 2010

WHO / WHAT IS THE "I" IN "I AM"? Part Two

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An Advaita forum focusing on Realisation, enlightenment, non-duality, Real Love, peace, freedom, Your original nature, abiding naturally, the Oneness, the Nothingness, and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Here, there is nothing that is believed, so there is no one here who wants you to believe anything, either. Here, the invitation is to be free of all that you have been programmed, conditioned, acculturated, and domesticated to believe so that you can be free, period.

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FROM A SITE VISITOR: The challenge for those of us who are trying to follow your instruction to never use the pronoun I to refer to anything other than the consciousness is a 40 yr history of using I to refer to the body and to the roles we've played. How to break the pattern?

F.: The way "out" - that is, out of the dream, out of the nightmare of the pain and / or the misery and suffering that results when persons do not know Who / What the "I" in "I AM" refers to - requires an understanding of this fact: that which is witnessed in the physical realm cannot be the Witness. (Only when Fully Realized can the Pure Witness "see" ItSelf ... come to know ItSelf ... come into a state of Self-knowledge.)

Just as someone looking at a mirage in the desert is not the mirage, someone looking into a mirror and seeing that which is reflected cannot be what is being reflected. It is an image that is being witnessed, not at all unlike the mirage in the desert that is supposedly witnessed but is not real at all.

The Realized in the example of the mirror know that what is being reflected in the mirror is an image and nothing more; the non-Realized do not understand that. With the non-Realized, it is as if they are in a museum, looking at a painting of flowers in a vase and believing that the vase and the flowers are real and are actually there, are truly in their presence.

The Realized would never mistake the image in the mirror for the Real, but the non-Realized always do; and the Realized know that the "I" is the witness while the non-Realized believe that the "I" is that which is seen in the mirror.

To know that the image is merely a play in light can be understood if the image being reflected in the mirror is appearing by virtue of the fact that a light is on in what would otherwise be the pitch-black darkness of a room. Turn off the light and the image disappears. What remains? The witness, even if nothing is being witnessed at the moment.

The witness that is witnessing a mirage in the desert is still the witness even after the angle of the sun changes and the mirage "disappears." In fact, the mirage was never there and was never anything more than a play in light.

If one depends on mirages for pleasure, then at some point the mirage will be exposed as an illusion and the pleasure will end and the pain or misery will begin. So it is with all persons who have taken illusions to be real (or so it shall be eventually for all who are presently taking an illusion as the real).

If it is understood that

(1) the "I" in "I AM" is the witness and not the witnessed

and if it is understood that

(2) whatever the non-Realized think they are witnessing is not at all what it seems (or what "he" seems or what "she" seems or what "they" seem)

then,

the setup for entrapment in the ever-fluctuating pleasure-pain duality can end.

How many persons around the globe at this very instant are experiencing unbelievable misery and suffering over "the loss of a loved one," pining away over what they think they "had" but no longer "have"?

Realize that their bereavement is seldom actually about "losing some person"; it is about losing all of the personas - all of the false self-identifications - that were being sustained when someone who had earlier been present (and who had for a time been willing to play the necessary co-dependent counterpart that is required to support one's false roles) decided to stop playing.

Understand: that which persons think they "had" in the past or "have" in the present is always an illusion, but it will not be seen as such if persons do not know that the "I" in "I AM" only refers to the Self and never to any other identity. The Pure Witness can only witness; it cannot "have" anything.

In the absence of that understanding, persons will also fail to understand that (A) what they think they had, they did not have at all; they will also fail to understand that (B) nothing has been lost because nothing from nothing is always ... nothing. This is the Reality: the mirage will always eventually go away; the witness will remain, for a time. And what of mourning "the loss of a mirage"?

Maharaj said: "Between the remembered and the actual there is a basic difference which can be observed from moment to moment. At no point of time is the actual the remembered. By no effort of will or imagination can you interchange the two."

Thus, the comments that announce the pending end of many "relationships": "I thought I knew you, but I don't really know you at all - you are not the person I thought you were!" or "You have robbed me of my identity with your actions - I don't even know who I am anymore!"

Maharaj: "Wherever you go, the sense of here and now you carry with you all the time. It means that you are independent of space and time, that space and time are in You, not You in them. It is your self-identification with the body, which, of course, is limited in space and time, that gives you the feeling of finiteness. In reality You are infinite and eternal."

Then, Maharaj was asked a question that is tantamount to the question asked by the site visitor quoted above:

Questioner: [To Maharaj]: "This infinite and eternal Self of mine, how am I to know it?"

Maharaj: "The Self you want to know, is it some second self? Are you made of several selves? Surely, there is only one Self and You are that Self."

And the "I" in "I AM" refers to that one and only Self, to the Pure Witness, to the presently but temporarily manifested pure consciousness that can see Reality and Truth when not blocked by the content of a mind filled with ideas and concepts and beliefs.

Maharaj continued: "The Self you are is the only Self there is."

In the case of the mirage in the desert that was referenced above, there actually was no reality to it at all. It was an illusion. Such is the case with all false selves: they never really existed in the first place, so "the Self you are is the only Self there is."

Maharaj advised: "Remove and abandon your wrong ideas about Your Self and there it is, in all its glory. It is only your mind that prevents Self-knowledge."

Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)

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Received 19 August 2010 from one that just completed the entire course:

I would like to extend deepest appreciation towards you for these teachings that you have offered. It has been most valuable towards what may not have been revealed throughout this manifestation labeled "anthony." Understanding Truth and finding words for gratitude are one as is all. Thank you again for pointing "me" to THAT and the understanding that came as well. Hopeful for future "contact"! Sincerely, Anthony M. W.

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