Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What am I?

Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I, truly?” and then sought to actually find the answer? This is something suggested by Adyashanti, who is another enlightened teacher that takes a straight up, no holds barred approach to teaching people to find themselves. With this particular approach (which is referred to as the direct method) you would sit quietly and clear your head of thoughts (or ignore the ones that come up) and ask yourself some serious questions, then feel or experience the answer as opposed to thinking about it. Here are some of the questions I have been using in my practice: “What am I? What is it that is seeing these things around me? What is it that’s underneath or behind all of my thoughts and ideas about the world? What is truly behind my eyes looking out on the world?” Focus all of your attention on finding what it is that is really there underneath it all. You might be quite surprised at what you find.

In effect you are connecting with what is below or behind your senses to what it is that is truly there experiencing them. The idea is not to use the mind to label the things you are looking at, but to let go of the thoughts you have about them and focus your attention on that which is experiencing the world around you. As you do this you will likely see that it is not a “who” that is experiencing these things, but a “what.”

The mind may try to cover up the answer as it tries to remain the primary interpreter of the forms around you, but if you spend a couple of minutes focusing ever more deeply into what is really there, you will likely find that there is nothing there but a presence, a stillness, consciousness itself. This is what you truly are: pure awareness. What you are doing when you do this is turning your awareness back on itself, and in doing so becoming aware of your inner self. This is where our ultimate search for truth will eventually lead – inside.

Another thing you might also discover while connecting with your inner self (after doing it a time or two) is that this presence within you is also all around you. It permeates that which you are as well as that which you are seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. It’s all around you as well as within you. It has no borders. It’s always there and never goes away. Thoughts may hide it from view, but it’s ever present and it’s what connects us all. It’s what we all have in common and can be accessed at anytime.

Having spent some time lately just being, I can safely say that it (this state of being or awareness) is a very peaceful state. This is where all of the truly powerful teachings point and I now have a far better grasp of what it is all about, despite my mind’s constant drive to try to understand, analyze or describe it. Rather than go on I will just suggest that you try looking into what you truly are for yourself and see what you find.

On a final note, I have also started a temporary web page that has a few quotes and notes from four enlightened teachers that have greatly influenced me lately (see link below). Despite the fact that they are all pointing to the same place, I have found it very beneficial to have different perspectives on the subject. I will be sharing more of my experiences soon and would love to hear from you on yours. In the meantime, take some time now and then to stop and just be (as suggested by Gangaji’s teacher).