Who am I?
There are many answers, depending on our level of consciousness. Thus, all good.
If we try to define and identify ourselves, what we obtain is entertainment and empty reassurance for the mind.
“I” am a human being, a lawyer, a parent, a spirit, a soul, or simply, “I” am John Doe. Many labels that “I” can be! But… I am not the label nor the idea behind it.
Consider this “secret.”
Any question is already defining the scope of the answer.
Why does the Sun set? The Sun does not set in the horizon. It only appears to us that way. Many things that we consider “realities” in Life, only appear to be that way. Even though we know through science that is the Earth moving, our experience does not agree with that. Can I deny my experience to embrace a belief even though labeled as “knowledge”?
Enjoy the sunset! That is fulfilling. That is what truly matters.
Let us go back. Who am “I”? It appears that there is something static to call “I” to hang onto; but there is nothing static in a changing Life. We heard “Life is change” but we cannot easily accept that Life is uncertain, mysterious.
“I” was 5 years old. That “I” is nothing like the one living “now.”
Am “I” the same? Not a chance, but my mind believes it through dead memories.
The word “I” must be used to make sense in language; but we believe that there is something static which we call “I.” However, that does not agree with what IS.
Then…what IS? Change, uncertainty, everlasting movement.
Can we confine everlasting change into an “I”?
Only in our conditioned “reality.” It is a core belief which has lived for centuries in our human psyche; coloring religions, philosophies, educational systems, etc.
We cannot understand Life until that primal conditioning is uprooted, for we see Life only through that lens.
When we are at peace with change, uncertainty and unpredictability, we ARE living Life. We ARE “spiritual.”
“What is MIND? Can you explain through words what is MIND? How to move from MIND to NO-MIND? No-mind is also called pure space, emptiness, what does this mean? I personally feel the mind is total illusion (Correct me please if I am wrong). And if the mind is illusion, how illusion can be associated with purity and impurity? You know they refer it as “Pure Mind” and “Impure Mind”.”
Thank you for your question.
A description will set limits. This may work for tangible items; but when we are referring to intangible such as the “Mind,” is not that easy.
For example, let us take a look at a dictionary definition of MIND: “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.”
From my experience, that definition is quite inaccurate; but yet because it is a “dictionary definition” most will believe in that. Of course, if there was AWARENESS we could know the answer, but yet we want words to make intellectual sense of something that is readily observable.
Consciousness is AWARENESS. The MIND is accumulation of experiences and conditioning which shapes our perspective of Life. We use the filter of the mind to make sense of the world. The mind is the one knowing “what is right or wrong” according to society’s teachings. It is the internal voice speaking which brings our conditioning forward.
For example: “masturbation is sinful.” That is conditioning. That is stored in our mind. That becomes our guiding “truth.” Thoughts will appear to support that core belief. Once those thoughts have drilled down in us and we believe them despite our inner conflict; then feelings will settle and those will create emotions, that is; the body will be affected. Then we may play the “dishonest” game of defending that “truth” verbally, while still DOING it. This will increase our sense of guilt and from there, it is only a step into emotional and mental disturbances.
If you want to understand, do not try to make sense of my words. Just use those as guiding symbols. OBSERVATION, AWARENESS is what will allow you to know.
If you go deeper into this, you may be able to recognize that the MIND is not YOU, but conditioning that have shaped YOU into something. It has given you a “form.”
For example, you are clay; but the mind will present that clay into the form of a little house made with clay. The mind will defend that “form” at all costs for it thrives in identity, which will create the ego-mind. Ego is mind.
You said “The mind is total illusion.” I ask you to confirm that through your own observable experience, after reading this.
Is the house made of clay an “illusion”? Yes and No.
However, what is important is to see clay in every “form.”
That is deconditioning. It is not to negate by saying that everything is an “illusion,” but by OBSERVING that clay will present itself in different forms. Every form is a perspective, the way we look at Life.
“Reality” presents itself through different “forms.” All of them are “real,” but illusions at the same time. It all depends on the one observing. His conditioning. His perspective.
This is the reason why the “I” is real for most, it presents itself with a marvelous form… but it is an illusion at the same time.
When there is no-conditioning, what is there then? An Empty mind. That is space, emptiness. Many labels to refer to “no-mind.”
My friend Mathias, one day explained that “emptiness allows for decoration of a room.” If the room has already stuff in it, there are limits as to how we could decorate. For most individuals, the mind is full of stuff, full of furniture, there is no space for anything “new.”
The terms “purity and impurity” are mental abstractions. A duality created by the mind. Concepts to play with.
“Purity” is not to DO some things and to avoid others.
“Impurity” is not to DO things which are not “pure.” Observe the trap. We must define what is “pure.” That definition entails a particular perspective, a particular reality. For example, some religions believe that sex is “impure.” Thus, their definition of “purity” is no-sex, celibacy.
It is not that sex is pure or impure, but it has been defined in a certain way. There is a particular perspective in such statement.
Since the mind is more less a “computer hard drive” full of experiences and conditioning influencing the output of our actions, there cannot be such a thing as “pure or impure” mind, but rather pure and impure experiences, which can’t be. Experiences are only that, experiences.
No-Mind is not the negation of mind, but to empty the conditioning of it, the “furniture” in the room. That is how it is said: “A pure mind is an empty mind.”
The next question will be: How do I empty my mind?
“You” don’t DO it. Once AWARENESS sets in, it happens while at the same time, emotional disturbances may need to be dissolved; but that is part of someone’s particular path. There are no “recipes.”
You want to DO something? OBSERVE yourself, BE AWARE of your thoughts, emotions, reactions, movements. Learn from yourself. “Know thyself.”
Beyond the trap of purity and impurity, there is AWARENESS and lack of it.
AWARENESS is like breathing. We are so used to “automatic pilot” that we need to read what the “expert” says about “how to breathe.” That is the conditioning of the mind: Believe the “experts” if you want to know.
Once we read the opinion of the “authority,” thoughts will arrive saying that “I know what breathing is.” To de-condition means to open to the possibility that “I don’t know anything, despite reading about it” and go through the breathing experience ourselves.
The mind will try to make “my” findings about breathing into a “best-seller.” That is conditioning. Got to make money! Get ahead!
My moral values will tell me that “I shouldn’t make a profit through spiritual teachings.” That is conditioning as well. That conflict will come from the mind.
An empty mind, is empty of that sort of conflict, for BEING knows the direction in Life. There is no need to make a choice, for that is mind.
To listen to that message without distortions, means to discover no-mind.
“Spirituality” as it has been taught for many years, targets an infantile consciousness. It is the popular “Monkey sees, Monkey does.”
It is understood that we learn by imitation like a 5-year-old child. That is the need for “role models.”
Have you seen a 50-year-old with the consciousness of a 5-year-old?
They may know a lot about the “office world.” They know how to “make money,” how to be “ahead.” They know that “I” is different than “you” and different than Life. They know how to look out for #1.
Life is for ME to make what “I” want of it. Life is for ME, I and MYSELF.
What a dingy bird!
What type of spirituality will be “good” for that? Do this. Don’t Do that. If you do it, you will get punished; but if you follow the instructions, if you copy the “role models,” then you will be “good.” “God” will have a special place for you when you die while a monument will be built on Earth after you. You will be eternal.
That is all about the “I.”
With that kind of spirituality, “I” have to become something better, “I” have to achieve something special, “I” have to show others my value, my capacity… “I” will continue on even when “I” am no longer here. “I” need to achieve heaven and join the political party of angels and saints…
“I” need insurance for the afterlife.
That type of consciousness is not ready yet for “No-I.” That is the other half of your 24-hour day…
Although we may be awake, we are asleep trapped in the routine of “another day at the office.”
When “I” sleep sound and deep, who am “I”? Where am “I”?
When thoughts come into “my” mind, who sent them? Wasn’t it “me”? Why can’t “I” stop them?
The “problem” is that I call that experience “MY” mind.
“I” have not been trained to OBSERVE the mind as when a bird passes flying on the sky. Do I say “my” bird is flying now? 🙂
What are those things that build “ME”? …. “MY” body.
Definitely, but can I observe that IT is getting older without “MY” permission? Nevertheless, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings have me wrapped up in MY identification of ME.
Enjoy your body! Only know that it is not yours or you… unless your consciousness is still there with that song… Then, embrace that. Acknowledge it … You are not ready for “NO-I” yet, otherwise it will be a dull belief, another “reason” to be dishonest with yourself. …but it doesn’t mean that “No-I” is nonsense. It just means that “I Am” not there yet.
Emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings are shaping ME, for through them, through that filter, “I” perceive the world and “Myself.”
Take those away, who am I?
Wait a minute, that is not easy! I cannot take those away as “I” take my coat off.
No problem. Life DOES IT. 5 years from now, “I” will not be the same.
All it links ME to the idea of ME, are labels: My name. All the rest will have changed at different percentages which “I” cannot control.
Who am “I” then? 🙂
“No-I” and “I” are 2 sides of the coin. “I” can BE and at the same time, “I” cannot BE. Thus, when “I” need to BE… I AM. When I don’t… I AM NOT.
Who am I? 🙂
What I AM NOT and what I AM. Senseless, illogical, irrational stuff. Perhaps the “truth.” 🙂
My question is regarding observation. We talk about observing the moment without prejudice. I can observe river, rain, nature, sky, hotness, kid’s innocence etc. All stuff which I feel that is pure and pleasing .
But I am not sure what and how to observe in office work: The effect of work pressure, achievement and loses,the up and downs in personal relationship. How to observe this without prejudice?
I think of making observation part of my office world routine and back at home when I interact with my parents and wife, but it never happens.
I agree if something needs to be changed that can only happen through observation not by resistance or force, but how to make observation part of life.
Thank you for your question.
Observation is not a practice. It is not something that you DO when you remember, or when you have time. It happens when there is “presence,” awareness, consciousness not only of the external elements but mostly what we call “self.”
Ahnanda is not using the word “observation” under the context of the dictionary.
Any of your senses, such as taste, touch, etc. can allow you to observe or be AWARE.
We can use the words observation, awareness and to be conscious interchangeably. Go beyond words. Are you aware of the things you DO, the way you walk, how shallow or deeply you may breathe?
Why not? It happens all the time. There is no need to have “free time” to observe these events.
Your description of what is “pure and pleasing” and what is “impure” and “stressful” are taking you away from observation.
What are those things making you feel? Become AWARE of that. As you are AWARE that those energies are not “you,” then you may walk away from them, easily, effortlessly or just wait until they go away by themselves. Everything that comes to you will go away, that is one of the things you may learn through observation. That is the natural way of things. If the “pure and pleasing” goes away, then the “impure and unpleasant” will arrive. There is nothing wrong with that, things move away; unless we want to make a trauma, a rejection of a natural circular happening in Life. Through our conditioning, we see 2 different things: Pleasant and unpleasant. However, they are one.
The process of becoming aware is similar to having a nagging pain in the shoulder.
It may not be a strong pain, so we keep on living a busy Life, full of activities and accomplishments. Forgetting about that silly pain. Once in while we will become aware of that pain in the shoulder, but unless this pain becomes an obstacle to get us out of our busy schedule, that pain is not important enough in our threshold of consciousness. We will not be aware of it.
Once the pain becomes unbearable, we will observe it. We will be aware of it. Once the pain in the shoulder is at that full intensity, the intellectual question on “how can I observe the pain,” is not necessary at all. We will feel it. We will know.
That nagging pain is a sense of unfulfillment in Life. Something is lacking. You may be looking for the “answer,” something that you believe observation will give to your Life. The nagging pain (observation/awareness) will increase by itself through your own lack of observation. Paradoxical.
One more thing, Observation is not meant to change anything. It is meant to acknowledge it, while resistance and force is meant to reject things.
So how change happens then?
It always happens. It is the nature of Life. Change may not go where you want it to go, and that is the fear. We want to control in our tight grip what is meant to change. That is the illusion of security feeding the “I” and the driven force behind our human conditioning.
When we observe our thoughts, we may find a new world.
Our world is our thoughts.
You may be swimming in the Ocean, floating, relax and then a thought comes up: “A shark may be close by.” That moment of relaxation is gone. We believed “our” thought and flew away from the Ocean. Did we think this? Did we purposely spoil our moment of peace?
Have you seen a “real” shark? How the association came by?
That is one of the first aspects to know about the mind: It is a repository for stuff we call “knowledge.”
Did you watch the movie “Shark”? That is “knowledge.” The mind will keep that information and it will throw it back at us through association when a similar experience arrives.
If we did not have the movie “Shark” in our heads, we wouldn’t be able to react in fear of sharks unless we had such a first-hand experience. That is one characteristic of thoughts, they come through association. If we are unaware of that, we may call that thought as “mine” as if it was created by “me.” We will obey that thought, for we believe it is “Me.” – I, Me, Mine- a fantastic trio.
Our imagination (another type of thought) is made from the same elements of “knowledge.”
Imagine something wild. Something new that you have never seen before.
You will not be able to. Even if you imagine pink holy hogs, flying around with bat wings looking to eat ham for breakfast… All of those elements in that story line are not “new.” Those are part of that “knowledge” kept in the mind.
Human conditioning has the same path. It is that “knowledge” making us see things from a particular perspective which we believe to be “right, true, valid,” etc.
Many times, we catch “thoughts.” We are not isolated from Life. Nowadays, sorrow is a common emotion, a vibe expanded through thoughts. We catch the vibe. A thought appears through the recognition of it, from our “bank of knowledge.” We IDENTIFY with it, we call that thought, that vibe as MINE.
An unaware individual will start weaving a story to support that vibe of sorrow and then… sadness will appear. “I am” sad is the conclusion of that “I-ness.”
What is the “solution” to conquer those sad thoughts?
Some will use drugs. Others, liquor and escapism from themselves. Others will swear by meditation and medication….
Are you sure that those are “your” thoughts?
The vehicles of thoughts are passing by the street of our empty mind. We label that street as “mine.”
When there is no identification, we can OBSERVE. When we observe, we could be AWARE. Through that awareness, thoughts may appear and disappear… There is nothing to hold them back.
Thoughts are clouds in the sky of our minds. Some will cover the light of the Sun, but they will move away. Even in the darkest and cloudiest day, there will be change. The key is to be AWARE that the sky is not “I.”
This information is only “knowledge.” There is nothing to put into “practice.” Just to be AWARE, awake, conscious. 🙂
Spirituality is related with the word “spirit” and that word is open to many meanings. How can we talk about “spirit” without the experience? Could a blind person speak about light?
Obviously, whatever he says about light will be far from what is, although he could speak scientifically about wavelengths and color spectrums. There is no experience. Nevertheless, even if we are not blind, whatever we say about light cannot be the “truth” but merely a description of it, of our own experience with “light”. The same principle applies when trying to make sense of “holy books” or “spiritual best sellers,” words cannot convey ‘truth’ only a partial description.
The other day I was talking with friends about “spirituality.” (i.e. Making the human experience “better”) Someone “discovered” (heard from others) that the problem of human suffering was related with ego.
“Get rid of the ego and you are free,” she said.
Bravo! That is the solution that most everyone knows. Why is not working? Why “knowing” the solution is not bringing the expected fruits? Oh! You need to “practice,” to follow the “right” method.
That is the next belief in the chain. What are you going to practice? An idea of what someone told you to be “right”?
Most are not AWARE of ego. Most only have concepts about it. Thus, how is it possible for ego to be dissolved, to SURRENDER it?
That is a key question.
Intellectual understanding of a concept does not change the individual. That is why “spirituality” as it is “now” is pure hogwash; nevertheless, “inspirational.” Any concepts that we bring in, will not accomplish the goal of “creating better human beings.” It will be all “pretty” talk; collectively we have become used to this.
Spiritual people ask the question: Who Am I? Any conceptual answer will not bring the experience of knowing ourselves. Because there is no AWARENESS, we could go on with some belief or with some dishonest phrase: We consistently say “I,” without knowing who that “I” is. We embrace another label such as “soul” or any other “spiritual” term, then we are “happy” with, for we believe to have the “right” answer.
When we are AWARE, we could perceive that we are not the body. Breathing happens. I am not DOING it. The heart pumps blood, I am not DOING it, thus; how can I say that “I am the body?”
When we are AWARE we could perceive that we are not the mind. Thoughts come and go without “my” control. They just appear and I want for them to go away, but I cannot DO that.
When we are AWARE we could see that any concept that I have not experienced, it is just conditioned information, “knowledge” coming from the mind.
Soul, Spirit, etc. are such learned concepts. I want to believe to be those, although I don’t know if I have experienced what the label entails, so I can be “spiritual” but I am faking it. If you have experienced to be a soul or spirit, please do me a favor: Change the label... Pick any other label, for your experience will be different from that of others.
When we are AWARE we recognize that “I will not be able to find who I am” for “I am always changing.” Paradoxically, I am the body, I am the mind, I am the soul, the spirit, I am ALL of those things that we believe to be, so why label to separate?
Paradoxically, the question “Who Am I?” is most important to formulate as long as I am not looking for an answer. Can the mind “understand that”?
Probably not. That is why, get out of the mind if you would like to experience you own wordless reality. That is part of deconditioning.
If you observe your own mind, you will be AWARE of it and then you will understand what the word ego, the “I” means, without using a dictionary definition.
Please be AWARE of this: We cannot live in the “NOW” as long as our mind IS. The mind is past or future only. To say: “I want my mind to be in the Now” is an ignorant remark for lack of awareness.
If you are in the NOW, you are in No-Mind.
Don’t believe me. Try it at home… BE AWARE of all of these things, so SURRENDERING happens.
If you believe that “I will surrender,” even though this phrase may be grammatically correct, in “spirituality” that phrase is completely senseless.
I am glad you asked. That is for you to find out. Your own journey.
Until March 20th! 🙂
1.”I want to ask a question. If my destiny is already decided that I will fail in an exam. I pray to god to fulfill my wishes. I worshiped him …but I failed in the exam, because it was written in my destiny. I also worked hard to pass that exam..where I am wrong. Please help me…”
Thank you for your question.
Who is that “I” that you are referring to?
Is it your body? Is it your mind? Search for that “I” in all places first.
If you find it, then observe how “failing” or not failing in an exam will affect that “I.” Why is an exam so important for that “I”?
The “Office world” has priorities that are deep inside our minds. But, those priorities are only valid depending on what we decide the “I” to be.
Most will not go into this basic thing. Most will take it for granted that “I have to achieve to become better”. This is compliance with a dream which we believe to be the only “reality”. Whether you “have” (achieved) money, power, love, enlightenment, happiness and any other “good” label that you can imagine; observe if your Life is fulfilling for you, if you are enjoying it. Passing a test is not part of this. You can pass it or fail it, but fulfillment is not a consequence of that.
You “know” that destiny is already made. What is the reason to pray to a God then? Change in Life is done through DOING, but that is not done by someone’s ego. You studied “hard” and did not pass. The “I” was trying to get his agenda of “success” going. It did not happen. Someone else may not have studied as hard as you did; but he passed. Then we believe that “Life is not fair” when it doesn’t move according to our conditioned wishes.
The “I” feels “bad” when hearing about destiny being already made, but it may be that this “I” is just another creation of the mind, an illusion even though compelling, even though it appears “real”, it is an illusion.
Your destiny is woven together with others, with the Totality. We are together in this, although it appears that we are separate just because of our separate bodies and conditioned minds.
Please observe that the problem created by your mind is inferred in the words: “failed, work hard, and wrong.” Those words are creating hell in your mind. Failure does not exist in Life when there is a fixed destiny. Failure is an invention of the “office world.”
It is a game my dear. Don’t take it seriously. “You” are still alive, breathing. Passing an exam could give you more money, more “office world stuff,” to enhance the illusion of the “I.” That is not “bad”. But if you believe that game to be “real” rather than a game, then you are destined to suffer.
That is why, awareness is the key. Awareness is the help that you may be looking for.
2. “I am so appreciative of your rare sense. Krishnamurti (no followers please) comes to mind. The spiritual supermarket grows larger and more insipid daily. You are refreshing.”
Thank you for your kind and honest words. Some individuals have seen Alan Watts in these writings. Others, have seen Osho and yet others, Krishnamurti. We align with a particular writer because we understand their viewpoint as they put words to our own realizations. Many will try to put Ahnanda’s sharing into a bottle of a well known label: Ahnanda is Non-duality, Hinduism, Osho-ism, and any other “truth.”
Ahnanda does not share “truth” for that conveys falsehood as well. He shares his experiences and a different perspective. These perspectives may have encountered other writer’s paths, but at the end of the road, Ahnanda’s path is unique, just like everyone else’s.
Yes, the “spiritual supermarket” is filled with salesman offering “solutions” when there are no “problems”. Offering “Life changes” when Life is change by itself.
However, the spiritual supermarket has a role in Life. They give hope and inspire others to get out of their comfort zones, although with a “small/large fee” attached. For most that is part of the conditioning that “you get what you pay for”.
In Ahnanda’s experience, anything that has been of great value in his Life, has always been free of charge.