Finding The Sense of ‘I am’
Words of Nisargadatta Maharaj:
“Along with the knowledge ‘I am’ appears space and the world. When the knowledge ‘I am’ departs the world is liquidated.
Appearance and disappearance, birth and death these are qualities of ‘I am’, they do not belong to you, the Absolute.
Catch hold of the knowledge ‘I am’ in meditation and the realization will occur that ‘I’, the Absolute, am not the quality ‘I am’. Do nothing but stay in the knowledge ‘I am’, the ‘moolmaya’ or primary illusion, and then it will release its stranglehold on you and get lost.”
Excerpt From: Roy Melvyn. “The Essential Nisargadatta.”
“When I met my Guru, he told me, ‘You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense I AM, find your real Self…’ I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence…and what a difference it made, and how soon! It took me only three years to realize my true nature.” His message to us was simple and direct with no propounding of scriptures or doctrines. “You are the Self here and now! Stop imagining yourself to be something else. Let go your attachment to the unreal.” (Nisargadatta Maharaj)
M.: The sense of being, of ‘I am’ is the first to emerge. Ask yourself whence it comes, or just watch it quietly. When the mind stays in the ‘I am’ without moving, you enter a state which cannot be verbalised but can be experienced. All you need to do is try and try again. After all the sense ‘I am’ is always with you, only you have attached all kinds of things to it — body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, possessions etc. All these self-identifications are misleading. Because of them you take yourself to be what you are not.
M.: All you can say is: ‘I am not this, I am not that’. You cannot meaningfully say ‘this is what I am’. It just makes no sense. What you can point out as ‘this’ or ‘that’ cannot be yourself. Surely, you can not be ‘something’ else. You are nothing perceivable, or imaginable. Yet, without you there can be neither perception nor imagination. You observe the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body acting;
the very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. Can there be perception, experience without you? (…)
Q: How do I get at it?
M: You need not get at it, for you are it. It will get at you, if you give it a chance. Let go your attachment to the unreal and the real will swiftly and smoothly step into its own. Stop imagining yourself being or doing this or that and the realisation that you are the source and heart of all will dawn upon you. With this will come great love which is not choice or predilection, nor attachment, but a power which makes all things love-worthy and lovable.
Turn within. You know “I am”. Be with it all the time you can spare, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.
Understand that it is not the individual which has consciousness, it is the consciousness which assumes innumerable forms. That something which is born or which will die is purely imaginary. It is the child of a barren woman.
Reality is definitely beyond the mind, but all you can do is to know your mind well. Not that the mind will help you, but by knowing your mind you may avoid your mind disabling you. You have to be very alert, or else your mind will play false with you. It is like watching a thief – not that you expect anything from a thief, but you do not want to be robbed. In the same way you give a lot of attention to the mind without expecting anything from it.
“It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.”
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
“Your expectation of something unique and dramatic, of some wonderful explosion, is merely hindering and delaying your Self Realization. You are not to expect an explosion, for the explosion has already happened – at the moment when you were born, when you realized yourself as Being-Knowing-Feeling. There is only one mistake you are making: you take the inner for the outer and the outer for the inner. What is in you, you take to be outside you and what is outside, you take to be in you. The mind and feelings are external, but you take them to be intimate. You believe the world to be objective, while it is entirely a projection of your psyche. That is the basic confusion and no new explosion will set it right! You have to think yourself out of it. There is no other way.”
“In the mirror of your mind all kinds of pictures appear and disappear. Knowing that they are entirely your own creations, watch them silently come and go, be alert, but not perturbed. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of Yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.”