If you looked at your hand and saw it had 5 fingers, you would not have to look over and over to confirm it has 5 fingers, rather than 4 or 6. If you locked your door, you might have to check it once or twice, but soon enough you would be certain it was locked. When we look at “Who or what am I?” and find only vast Isness devoid of a personal I, we seem unable to accept that direct experience. If we looked in our pocket for our phone and found it was not there, we would very quickly be certain the phone was not in our pocket, even if we had carried it in our pocket for years. Nonetheless, we can look over and over at the question “What am I?” and continue to believe the dream of a personal self, despite the direct experience of our essence as boundless Awareness.
Part of the problem is we expect the experience of a personal I to disappear with the recognition of its illusory ultimate nature.
When we look, we see we are not our body or our thoughts, because they are perceptible, and thus, not fundamental. If we can perceive our body and thoughts, then we cannot ultimately be our body or thoughts—we are subtler. We are what perceives the body and thoughts. We are, at this very moment, what is before the perceiving. Even with this clear recognition that we are not ultimately our body or thoughts, we continue to experience a body and thoughts. The recognition they are not our fundamental essence does not make them disappear, it only removes the illusory identification as them.
Similarly, when we look and find we are fundamentally vast Isness, the experience of an I does not disappear, it only loses its illusory hold as our fundamental identity. The long habit of identification as a personal I may take some time to fully let go, but once we see what we truly are, it cannot be unseen. The stranglehold as an illusory personal I must ultimately collapse under the direct scrutiny of Self-inquiry.
Be kind and forgiving to the experience as a personal I. As long as the experience as a personal I persists, use it relentlessly in the pursuit as Truth. The identification as a personal I is the fundamental assumption supporting all illusion. When it is fully seen through, the rest cannot stand.
“What you are looking for is what is looking.” – St. Francis of Assisi.
In all, as all, with much love, Bec and Steve
(The quote in the above photo is from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”)