You are not Pure Awareness

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You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Sighclone » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:14 pm

Ok. That was a “teaser title.” But my point in this post concerns a big problem with language. I’m reading John Wheeler’s “The Light Behind Consciousness.” Wheeler is a direct-path guy. He repeats himself forever saying essentially “You are non-conceptual pure awareness.”

He’s not the first to assert that. Virtually all the nondual teachers do that. Even me. Even kiki. The problem has to do with the concept of “you” and the concept of “I.”

Before we had ever learned about nonduality, Zen, Advaita Vedanta, Ken Wilbur, etc., we knew about “who we were.” Yes, that is the “I-thought” and all its encumbrances such as “good at math,” “I’m a night person,” “very talky,” “like athletics,” “skilled at music,” “hate my sister,” etc.. etc…all those little pieces of egoic identity. “Comfortable in my own skin.” We know this egoic self of form. We wake up to it every morning, whether we like “our life” or not…it’s there. Little me. (Yes, ET and others constantly remind us that it’s a false self…) But for years, it was the only “self” we could identify. Doesn't matter if it is kind of sketchy and changeable...we are not selfless...there is a "point of view."

Now the nondual teachers say “you are pure awareness.” The problem is this: If “I” am “pure awareness” then there is an “I” to “be something.” And we get stuck. The “little me I” is something I can talk about forever (and most of us do that with a jillion “I-thoughts” all day long.) So, if I learn today that “I” am not the little me, but “pure awarenss, Brahman, Being, Self, Source, etc.” am I both??? Both “little me” and “pure awareness?”

What is happening here is that you are not pure awareness. Pure Awareness does exist, and it is the Source of all manifestations in duality…they arise into it and from it, but you have to discover that for "yourself." And in that process, “little you” becomes just one of many perturbations of the field of Pure Awareness. Your identity shifts, not to a “new me” but to a “no me.” And that is the purest of paradoxes. How can an identity be “no me”???

What is going on is that all forms and details of conventional identity simply dissolve. Awareness remains, yes, but “you” are not that awareness, because there is no “you” to “be” it. The difference between Pure Awareness and the “void” of Existentialism is that once realized and appreciated, Pure Awareness is vital and alive and loving and clear. It is a spiritual experience, not a concept. But you don’t “become” it. “You” dissolve and it remains. There is a simple awareness, and that is all there is…no “you” identified with it. It remains to include all the “little me’s,” all of “time and eternity” – it is the home and source of love (yes, and perceived hate and violence, too.) I do like the term “Self” because that includes all identities.

“Little you” remains also, full of your personal quirks, and the joys of motherhood and intimacy, and the problems of employment and taxes and the environment and all of the rest of duality, like this post you are reading and thinking about. But there has been a realization of the “infinite container” of all of that, the source and the resting place. So that all the moments of suffering and joys inherent in duality are infused with the perfume of Being – and there is a protection and comfort felt also. The experience is one that is had for a first time, and again. And there is abiding there, too. But “you” don’t become a concept.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by runstrails » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:11 pm

Andy,

Very interesting and important post. I may be completely out of my depth here in expressing what I want to —but I’ll try anyway.

Although I understand perfectly what you are saying, I actually feel that it’s very important to indeed realize that ‘you’ are pure awareness/Self/ Brahman. In my case this personalization has actually been critical towards making the realization (more) abiding.

As Ramana Maharishi says (and I paraphrase) “ In deep sleep, there is no ego, there is only your true nature”. But who sleeps? You, of course. In that deep sleep, ‘you’ exist as your true self (unclouded by ego, identity etc..). This deep sleep description is brilliant because it seamlessly points to what you truly are (pure blissful awareness) and removes ego (little me) quite effectively at the same time.

[Also, I tend to sleep very deeply at times and so I can really intuit what he is pointing at. You always wake up perfectly blissful from a deep sleep, having rested as your true nature—until ego comes calling, of course, hopefully after you’ve had breakfast!] :D

Sometimes, when I used to read Ananda’s posts about how everything was happening within him—I would be very puzzled. Now that the truth is more personally realized 'as me', I think I can better intuit what he is pointing at.

Actually, you and I are likely saying the same thing —it’s just hard to express all this in mere words!

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Sighclone » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:36 pm

Thanks for your observations and insight, rt. Certainly "something" remains to experience pure awareness. But for me, there is simply the experience, no experiencer. When ET mentioned in passing on an Oprah video of her radio show in October 2007, that "you are the present moment," that sent chills down my spine. Because it meant that I was not a person. It is that "non-personal" or "trans-personal" being that is both the subject and object of the experience. And yup, words are very inadequate to express something which is actually very basic.

About a year ago my meditations began to reveal the the phrase "I am" was too dualistic. "Am-ness is" is horrible English, but feels more accurate. :)

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by runstrails » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:51 pm

It's fascinating how differently we can realize the same thing!
But for me, there is simply the experience, no experiencer.
For me, the experiencer is Self (Me).

the the phrase "I am" was too dualistic
For me, the "I" (in "I am") refers to Self (Me)--so no inherent dualism.

"Words, Words, Words"---as Eliza Doolittle would say :lol:

So this discussion is an perfect example of how truth realization cannot be intellectual or conceptual. Mind/language is just the wrong tool for this task!

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Sighclone » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:08 am

When all the hairs are split we are no further than when we started :) My point here was was to be clear that our identity is not lost, but our sense of "me" surely changes.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by runstrails » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:28 am

that our identity is not lost, but our sense of "me" surely changes.
Perfectly stated. Could not agree more :D

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by rachMiel » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:19 am

Sighclone wrote:About a year ago my meditations began to reveal the the phrase "I am" was too dualistic. "Am-ness is" is horrible English, but feels more accurate. :)
I'm grappling with this same issue. "I am" is confusing to me, more intellectually than experientially, because I have been conditioned to regard "I" (the small self) as ill/de-lusion, something to get beyond. "I am" appears at first glance to celebrate the small self (ego), though I'm guessing that's not how it is meant to be understood. (Enter Ananda, I hope, to clarify!) My guess is that what might start off as a feeling of small-self "I am" transforms with meditation into all-inclusive Self "I am." as in Brahman.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Ananda » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:46 am

"I am" is often used to signify the sense of being, or sense of existence, it's an affirmation, 'I exist'. The sense 'I am' is present throughout subjective experience and pervades each state. 'I am' by itself refers to unassociated, pure being, and is that one taste of being in every experience. The body/mind are superimposed on to the unassociated 'I am' and it becomes falsely associated with the body or the mind, 'I am the body, I am my mind, I am an individual, I am 25 years old' etc. 'I am' by itself is a reflection of the Self which is always known in waking and dreaming. In dreamless sleep even the sense 'I am' resolves itself back into the Self, as there is nothing to differentiate between the Self and not-Self. 'I am' has the taste of reality in it, 'I am this body, I am that body' is false.

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by rachMiel » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:38 am

Thanks, Ananda. :-)

So experiencing "I am" (corrrectly) is equivalent to experiencing "pure existence" yes?

If the beginner in "I am" meditation associates the "I" with the small self, is that okay (rather than something to be alarmed about, resist, etc.), because self will gradually give way to Self with continued meditation?
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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by karmarider » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:51 am

Nisgardatta and Ramana suggest meditation on the sense of "I am." I periodically do this for a time, but for me it's quite slippery. In the beginning, the sense of "I am" was the sense of the body, sometimes of specific thoughts or labels. Now it feels like something separate from body and mind, but still somehow connected. It's very slippery and very vague, and I wonder if I'm meditating "correctly"....

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Ananda » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:24 am

So experiencing "I am" (corrrectly) is equivalent to experiencing "pure existence" yes?
Yes
If the beginner in "I am" meditation associates the "I" with the small self, is that okay (rather than something to be alarmed about, resist, etc.), because self will gradually give way to Self with continued meditation?
Yes
In the beginning, the sense of "I am" was the sense of the body, sometimes of specific thoughts or labels. Now it feels like something separate from body and mind, but still somehow connected. It's very slippery and very vague, and I wonder if I'm meditating "correctly"....
This is good. The superimposed association of the body/mind on the sense 'I am' is being stripped away, what's being revealed as 'separate but connected' is the sense of existence to which the body/mind appear to as objects. Keep it up :)

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by alex » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:13 am

Ok Ananda sometimes when I do the I am thing it feels like a presence thats in my eyes but at the same time everywhere and nothing, is the in the eyes feeling off track? Sounds weird to me

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Kutso » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:23 am

Just try the phrase "I am not", and see how false it is. "I am not this" or "I am not that" is valid, "I am not" isn't. You cannot not be, because you have always been and you will always be.
Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that.

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by Kutso » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:26 am

alex wrote:Ok Ananda sometimes when I do the I am thing it feels like a presence thats in my eyes but at the same time everywhere and nothing, is the in the eyes feeling off track? Sounds weird to me
This is what you are. Everywhere and nowhere.
Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that.

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Re: You are not Pure Awareness

Post by alex » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:34 am

hey I like doing the I am not thing, makes you really feel that you exist. This I am thing its really simple huh, like so simple you probably overlook it but its really dam obvious, am I correct?

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