A question about "I Am"

samadhi
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:40 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

A question about "I Am"

Post by samadhi » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:47 pm

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to stop by with a quick question. Since getting "I Am That" last year and finding it absolutely incredible and so immensely helpful, I have nonetheless been left with a bit of confusion. I have yet to finish the book, but I am a little confused by what Nisargadatta is referring to when he speaks of the "I Am".

Initially I assumed that the "I Am" refers to our innate beingness, the consciousness or awareness that pervades our being at our deepest core level. But other times he appears to be referring to the ego or false mind-made self when he speaks of "I Am". Which is it?

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4433
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by kiki » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:19 pm

"I Am" is the sense of Being, Existence, Life - it refers to your true nature. If there is anything attached to the "I AM" then it is referring to the egoic sense, so pay attention to the context he is using. If you are confused by a particular statement of his perhaps you could put it on here or give reference to it so we can get to the bottom of what he's talking about.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---
Your donation will help keep us online.

User avatar
Ananda
Posts: 949
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:35 am
Location: Manchester, England
Contact:

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Ananda » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:25 am

Hello there

Nisargadatta uses the term ' I Am' as a pointer only, as pointing to the existence (Self). When the pointer has done it's work then it can be dropped.

Here are a few quotes from I Am That which may help;
A reflection of the watcher in the mind creates the sense of "I" and the person acquires an apparently independent existence. In reality there is no person, only the watcher identifying himself with the "I" and the "mine". The teacher tells the watcher: you are not this, there is nothing of yours in this, except the little point of "I am", which is the bridge between the watcher and his dream. "I am this, I am that" is dream, while pure "I am" has the stamp of reality on it. (343)

That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is but a dimensionless point of consciousness, a conscious nothing. All you can say about yourself is "I am". You are pure being-awareness-bliss. To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination, and stand aloof in pure awareness of the transient as transient, imaginary as imaginary, unreal as unreal. (316)

Only your sense "I am", though in the world, is not of the world. By no effort of logic or imagination can you change the "I am" into "I am not". In the very denial of your being you assert it. (200)

It [the "I am"] is unreal when we say: "I am this, I am that". It is real when we mean "I am not this, nor that". (395)

To identify oneself with the particular is all the sin there is. The impersonal is real, the personal appears and disappears. "I am" is the impersonal Being. "I am this" is the person. The person is relative, and the pure Being fundamental. (71)

Note;

Nisargadatta does not equate Consciousness with the Self. Rather, he defines Consciousness as the three states of wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep, and That which is aware and beyond the three states is real only, the Self.

samadhi
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:40 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by samadhi » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:51 am

Thanks Kiki and Ananda, that helps clarify things :)

I realised that holding onto the notion of 'I Am' was to be rooted in Being as Eckhart might say. This seems to be the running 'theme' as it were. A couple of the quotes which tripped me up were:

“You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered. All hangs on the idea “I am”. Examine it very thoroughly. It lies at the root of every trouble. It is a sort of skin that separates you from the reality.”

“It is because “I am” is false that it wants to continue. Reality need not continue - knowing itself indestructible, it is indifferent to the destruction of forms and expressions. To strengthen, and stabilise the “I am” we do all sorts of things - all in vain, for the “I am” is being rebuilt from moment to moment. It is unceasing work and the only radical solution is to dissolve the separative sense of “I-am-such-and-such” once and for good. Being remains, but not self-being.”

But, as Kiki said, I guess in this context 'I am' is referring to ego, whereas when he uses it most the rest of the time it refers to being.

User avatar
Ananda
Posts: 949
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:35 am
Location: Manchester, England
Contact:

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Ananda » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:48 am

All hangs on the idea “I am”. Examine it very thoroughly. It lies at the root of every trouble. It is a sort of skin that separates you from the reality
Notice how Nisargadatta says "the idea "I am". The idea "I am" is a reflection of the pure awareness (Self) and is prone to identification with forms ("I am this, I am that"). He uses the term "I am" because even though it is only a reflection of the Self it has a stamp of truth to it in that it is an affirmation of existence (it cannot be denied, so it has it's basis in the Self). When one realizes that to which the original idea "I am" (without "I am this or that") points to then even "I am" falls away, and all that remains is the real, the Self of pure awareness.

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4433
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by kiki » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:26 am

Well said, Ananda.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---
Your donation will help keep us online.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6214
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Sighclone » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:15 am

I used to meditate and explore. For a while, "I am the present moment" seemed real. That would have made Eckhart happy. :) After a while, finding "the present moment" was hard. Then later, the whole concept of "I am" seemed very dualistic. Now I just close my eyes and "amness happens...existence is" seems the best expression. Until the phone rings.

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

samadhi
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:40 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by samadhi » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:23 pm

Thank you for your insight, guys. Makes perfect sense to me. I understand now that "I am" is kind of like a pointer to the ultimate reality, but isn't entirely 'it'.

Thunder2008
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:23 pm

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Thunder2008 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:50 am

Hi people it is something that I don´t get from Eckhart. "Being" is a step or the goal?

Ok, like said, "I Am" is kind of a pointer to the ultimate step (which is absolute /Void), but isn't entirely 'it'.

Eckhart stops on "being" (the equivalent term to "I am") and he does not take it any further, while Nisargadatta uses it as the portal to the ultimate absolute which makes more sense. It is like Eckhart makes "being" (= I Am) the ultimate step.

Eckhart talks about Portals to "being" (=I Am) but never used the term "Being" (=I Am) as the portal to a further ultimate step.

What do you think?

Spiritual Thunder
--------------------

User avatar
Ananda
Posts: 949
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:35 am
Location: Manchester, England
Contact:

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Ananda » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:09 pm

Hi Thunder

Whilst Eckhart's main focus is always on becoming aware of that Being, he does mention quite a few times in his books what the implication of abiding in Being actually is;
Having access to that formless realm is truly liberating. It frees you from bondage to form and identification with form. It is life in its undifferentiated state prior to its fragmentation into multiplicity. We may call it the Unmanifested, the invisible Source of all things, the Being within all beings. It is a realm of deep stillness and peace, but also of joy and intense aliveness.

You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of - yet I am speaking of it now. I am speaking of it now not to give you something to believe in but to show you how you can know it for yourself.

Beyond the beauty of external forms, there is more here: something that cannot be named, something ineffable, some deep, inner, holy essence. Whenever and wherever there is beauty, this inner essence shines through somehow. It only reveals itself to you when you are present.

The truth is: you don't have a life, you are life. The One Life, the one consciousness that pervades the entire universe and takes temporary form to experience itself as a stone or blade of grass, as an animal, a person, a star or a galaxy.

Can you sense deep within that you already know that? Can you sense that you already are That?

User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6426
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Webwanderer » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:19 pm

Thunder2008 wrote:Eckhart talks about Portals to "being" (=I Am) but never used the term "Being" (=I Am) as the portal to a further ultimate step.

What do you think?
Thunder, consider that "I Am" is not quite equal to "Being". I Am is more of an acknowledgment of being, where as being is actual undefined presence. That being said one can't not be, but one can be distracted in imagination, or one can be clear in presence awareness.

WW

Thunder2008
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:23 pm

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Thunder2008 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:39 am

Thanks Ananda and Webwanderer for your reply.

First, Ananda.
All that statement you quoted by Eckhart describes how it feels to access the “formless realm”. If like you write, the implication of abiding in Being actually, is the access to formless realm, then I perceive “being” as the vehicle that drives you into that formless realm. If this is the case, “being” is the equivalent to “I AM”. It is the portal to the formless.

Dear Webwanderer,
If “being” is actually the “formless” then I would agree it is something different from “I AM”. I don’t think that this is the case. But it is true that Eckhart defines Being as an “actual undefined presence” (= pure awareness without memories, anticipations, associations etc) therefore I don´t get its difference from the “I-AM”. I perceive both “I-AM” and “being” as objects in the world of form that you simply grasp and then (like Eckhart claims) you SEE WHAT HAPPENS. I assume that what happens then, is beyond “being” and it lies within the “formless realm”.

My main concern here is why Eckhart does not emphasise that there are stages even beyond (or prior to) “being”. Or I didn´t get quite well what "being" is despite reading "the power of now" many times.

Again thanks for your wonderful friendship and valuable responses.

Love
Thunder

User avatar
Mouse
Posts: 377
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:15 pm
Location: Kyogle, Australia

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Mouse » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:28 am

samadhi wrote: Initially I assumed that the "I Am" refers to our innate beingness, the consciousness or awareness that pervades our being at our deepest core level. But other times he appears to be referring to the ego or false mind-made self when he speaks of "I Am". Which is it?
I am not sure what he, Nisargadatta was refering to but my observation is that I am refers always to the subject-object reality. And in particular it refers to the subject 'end' of that. The confusion arises because the object is subject to change.

What once was seen as I am the subject can with further stillness or negation be reduced to I am as the object, and on and on.
I have been inspired by Barry Long's teaching and I write this so as to acknowledge my source of inspiration. It is a wonderful help, and it is a wonderful gift.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6214
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Sighclone » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:50 am

Hello Thunder!

You comment:
My main concern here is why Eckhart does not emphasise that there are stages even beyond (or prior to) “being”
It is because "Being" is a word used by Eckhart meaning Brahman, Pure Awareness, Self. And, as such, does not have "stages" or "before" of "after." Realization of the Self however, is a moment in the lifetime of a human. It is the end of unconsciousness we we call awakening. There are probably stages for most people in reaching self-realization, but Eckhart was simply blasted into it. Adyashanti had many "stages." And three big "events." He talks about them in several places. And here is Gary Weber ("Happiness Beyond Thought") on awakened life :
Virtually every day there is a new discovery, a new opening, a new "yes", until that practice completes itself and on "its own", it falls away, and another arises, unsought, to learn within itself, about itself. It is an amazing dance; there is no "after", only "endless enlargement" and more deepening and stilling beyond what was previously imagined possible.
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

Thunder2008
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:23 pm

Re: A question about "I Am"

Post by Thunder2008 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:37 am

Hi, Sighclone.

From what you say I start to realise that "I AM" is more of an Archetype and "Being" is more of an "Essence".

I liked that Gary Weber Quote.

Thanks

Post Reply