Monday, April 14, 2008

I is, or I am?

What feels better to say, "I is," or "I am?" As the mind pondered this today, the answer seemed intellectually strange. But it did not feel strange.

When you begin the great Advaita inquiry, "Who am I?" it is a phrase that naturally feels right. Many have heard this instruction, and they've thought about it intellectually, but few have really looked. I mean REALLY looked!

It seems to dead end when no path is found. Inquirers give up when they get into the vague territory of this well known, but really challenging, simple question. J. Krishnamurti said, "Truth is a pathless land." How right he was! Looking for who, or what I am, is one of the most profound investigations an apparent person can do.

Needless to say actually pursuing this to the end seems to be the territory of very rare birds. The natural proclivity to believe long held assumptions is like a veil that protects this inquiry from going too deep. This is also why it is usually necessary to have a teacher, "One who knows," take a look with you.

For the rare bird that has looked into the bottom of the "I am" well, and not come back, "I am," looses some of its punch. Once one becomes acquainted with Awareness directly, as Awareness, "I am" no longer sits quite right.

What begins to feel right, without searching, without asking, is "Isness." Awareness Is. I is. I am NOT this or that! I is.

Isness has a sense of immediacy, of presence, of moment to moment. It is beyond nowness, as now implies a past and a future. Awareness is, such as it is.


Ron Marson said...

Hello Maury,

Mind sits with the opening questions and tries on both for fit and feel, before reading the rest of mind's post.

"I am" feels familiar, comfortable, and personal, yet limiting and somehow false, as if it were possible to stake out a space-time boundary, the skin of this body for example, and say I goes this far, no farther.

"I is" feels strange and impersonal, yet huge, unlimited and free. I is everywhere I looks. There is no thing, no object that is not I. Sure, mind calls it "tree" or "bird" or something else in some other language. That's what parent-I's tell baby-I's as I's reproduce into the world.

I once had a cat named "Minnie" for "minimal animal". Or should I say Minnie had me. She really did have me, for I loved that cat. Anyway, Minnie would walk up to the turn in our driveway with what appeared to be resolution and intention. She would pause, look around, and then walk back, for no apparent reason that I could see. She did this many times a day for most of her long life.

So why do I walk up and down the driveway? Why do I respond to your post, having traveled here by way of Mary's Blog, Grace is Now? Why do I keep struggling to understand I, to say what I is, when I see there is no I but I, there is only I?

Why can't I seem to let the mystery be? I suppose someone has to keep walking up and down the driveway. Someone has to do it because it seems to keep happening.

Maury said...

Hello Ron,

Very nice to hear from you. A very thoughtful consideration of where you are.

Just like Minnie who limited herself to the driveway, we limit ourselves to, as you put it, within our skin.

We also limit ourselves to the concept of a mental "I" that is restless and struggles.

There is nothing wrong with a restless I, it's just not who we are. The restless I is just a thought pattern awareness observes.

I am, you are this field. Who sees the restless "I?" You do. If you see it, it's an object in your awareness.
You are that awareness.

Peace, and thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment.


Ron Marson said...

Yes. When I see my restless seeker, it is an object in my consciousness, appearing on impersonal Awareness.

What a beautiful illustration of "I am" (consciousness) and "I is" (Awareness).