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What am I?

Last post 09-18-2006, 6:46 AM by geomo. 12 replies.
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  •  08-02-2006, 6:27 PM 2974

    • geomo is not online. Last active: 10-16-2006, 6:40 AM geomo
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    What am I?

    Well, as the witness, even "I" becomes an object.  To quote KW:

    "The real awakening, however, is the dissolution of the witness itself..."

    I've found a bit of success with a variation of Ramana's introspection. Try this:

    What is "I"?

    I as an object is a fallacy.  I is just a conceptualization.  It has no reality either.  If the witness itself dissolves, then there is no identity left, no "I" to even partake in witnessing.  So, what is "I"?

    Peace

    Keith


    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -unknown
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  •  08-03-2006, 12:05 PM 3096 in reply to 2974

    Re: What am I?

    "What am I?"  Great question!  It really gets to the heart of the matter, doesn't it?  I've spent too many hours trying to wrap my head around this one, and I've concluded that it's virtually impossible to figure out.  I don't think the limited, small "s" self can grok non-dual awareness/enlightenment.  I can sort of have a conceptual understanding, a sense of the abstraction of it, but I think it only comes alive when it becomes a subjective experience.  And that experience is an accident, as Ken and many others have talked about.  All we can do is continue our practice to be ever more "accident prone".  But my heart yearns dearly for a taste of that experience, probably for transcendent as well as narcissitic reasons.
    There are two types of conversations worth having; those about the deepest things, and gossip!
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  •  08-04-2006, 1:20 PM 3251 in reply to 3096

    • geomo is not online. Last active: 10-16-2006, 6:40 AM geomo
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    Re: What am I?

    I know that's a great question.  Maybe I should have titled this thread differently.  The question I am really asking is:

    What IS "I"?  Beyond subject and object dualism, there can be no "I" to be.

    Keith


    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -unknown
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  •  09-02-2006, 12:50 PM 6543 in reply to 2974

    • DougT is not online. Last active: 10-17-2006, 8:24 AM DougT
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    Re: What am I?

    geomo:

    I as an object is a fallacy.  I is just a conceptualization.  It has no reality either. 


    Interesting conclusion Keith, but I see this belief as a type of fallacy (and I suspect a 1st tier limitation, but thats just an inference - I think). 

    Just because I-ness dissolves at an ultimate level, does not mean that it is less real than the 'chair' 'I' am sitting on, the 'time' 'I' 'exist' in, the 'feelings' that drive 'me', or the 'thoughts' 'I' am 'thinking', or the 'intention' 'I' am 'enacting', since these all disolve into nothingness at that ultimate level of reality.  Each concept-object has its place in each level of reality, though at some levels each convept-object may be more or less emphemoral than at another level. 

    Said more succinctly, the relativity of reality does not negate the realness of each reality (and it's contents) at its own level of reality....

    LOL...  Wow, I hope you follow that last sentence, it took a while to articulate it...

    Namaste

    Doug T

    The relativity of reality does not negate the realness of each reality (and it's contents) at that level of reality....
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  •  09-02-2006, 2:18 PM 6556 in reply to 6543

    • geomo is not online. Last active: 10-16-2006, 6:40 AM geomo
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    Re: What am I?

    I think I understand that last sentence.Tongue Tied [:S]

    By the way, in IS Ken reminds us of something (that I didn't know to begin with) about ego as Freud used it.  What was intended is not some abstract concept of an ego, but just the "I".  That is what "ego" means.  It simply means "I" and "id" mean "it."  Nothing more complicated than that.  When you then check back in with the traditions, there is the ultimate conclusion, supported by the Wilber quote earlier in this thread, that ego, or "I" is an illusion.  The dissolution of the Witness implies that ultimately, the Witness is an illusion.  There is no distinction between "I" and "it" or the Witness and that which is witnessed.  Without that distinction, "I" kind of loses meaning....at least as seen through this particular 1st tier limitation.Wink [;)]

    Thanks for playing, Doug.

    Keith


    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -unknown
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  •  09-02-2006, 11:08 PM 6594 in reply to 6556

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    Re: What am I?

    Ok...  "I" kind of loses its meaning....   is a concept at this level of existence (at least for most of us).  In the level of reality in which it is not a concept, there is no one there to even notice.  (I would imagine that one would simply precipitate back into existence at this level not even knowing how much time had passed [though I imagine one could precipitate into pretty much any time spce reality from that level]).  .

    So is it that "I" loses its meaning, or that "I" changes its meaning at the different levels.  I think thats a very important distinction.  I know this is a bit clumsy of an anology, but when the mustard seed becomes the plant do we say the the mustard seed does not exist or that it has changed it's level of reality, moving from genetic reality to a more manifest reality.  It's changed the reality in which it exists, but that does not negate its prior reality and what it was at that level, or the reality that all its old mustard seed friends might still be existing at. 

    One of the reasons I'm pushing a bit to make this distinction, is that I see 'spiritual people' around me get confused about the fact that different levels of reality have their own laws that need to be respected.  My pet peeve in this area are people attempting to repress/ disscociate from their ("I" in the) emotional level of existence, taking refuge in the ("I" of the) cognitive or spiritual realms.  It just causes (more) problems.

    What ya think?  Nice playing with you too.


    Doug T

    The relativity of reality does not negate the realness of each reality (and it's contents) at that level of reality....
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  •  09-03-2006, 7:30 AM 6612 in reply to 6556

    Re: What am I?

    Hi Geomo,

    Mental gymnastics, what fun!

    I don't know if this will help but it works for me. Think of a baby-it's a real baby, as a separate human life it exists. Objectively it is there, it cries, eats, etc. It expresses its basic needs unconsciously and others are pre programmed to respond (damn hormones).

    But that baby doesn't exist as an "I". It has no concept of itself as a separate thing, either from animate objects such as parents, or the inanimate ones such as the mattress it is lying on. Part of learning is that identification with its own body space as a separate thing, and the environment around it as something "outside", to be manipulated.

    But to an impartial observer, nothing has changed, it's the same room, the same baby, the same objects round about. The only thing that changes is the infant's thought process, this  perception of itself as separate. So the "I" arises with the development of thought, (I think therefore I am?). IT is simply everything that is "not I". But its just an idea, a thought process that allows us to function.

    But if you strip away all the learned thoughts, all the creation and understanding of who we have decided we are, what's left? Take away the learned "I" and what was there before that remains, it's just not what we're used to thinking of as "me".

    I've probably confused myself now........

    Liz

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  •  09-09-2006, 12:17 PM 7410 in reply to 6612

    • sancarso is not online. Last active: 10-14-2006, 12:41 PM sancarso
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    Re: What am I?

                          

                Shining poisons the periphery of shadow,

                      Blinding all sickness with luminous strokes.

                          No guise escapes this brilliant circus.

                                    Outside floating within.

                                         Empty Satiation


    Since things neither exist nor don't exist, are neither real nor unreal, are utterly beyond adopting and rejecting - one might as well burst out laughing!!

    -Longchenpa Rabjampa-
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  •  09-09-2006, 10:37 PM 7462 in reply to 6612

    Re: What am I?

    tiki:
    But if you strip away all the learned thoughts, all the creation and understanding of who we have decided we are, what's left? Take away the learned "I" and what was there before that remains, it's just not what we're used to thinking of as "me".

    I've probably confused myself now........Liz

    No, you're as clear as morning dew.

    Grand overarching pronouncement:
    Everyone above me in this thread is self-realized, dammit.
    Just be still and know: I AM.... for one second.

    That's it.

    ...not an achievement...

    End of declaration. (-courtesy of my teacher's teacher and his teacher)

    Mu
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  •  09-14-2006, 1:17 AM 7789 in reply to 2974

    Re: What am I?

    I suggest you read, if you have time, Almaas' Point of Existence where he talks about Kohlberg (a different one), Kohut, Masterson and others (e.g. Winnicot). It's interesting.

    D.   

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  •  09-14-2006, 1:20 PM 7834 in reply to 6543

    • geomo is not online. Last active: 10-16-2006, 6:40 AM geomo
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    Re: What am I?

    DougT:


    Just because I-ness dissolves at an ultimate level, does not mean that it is less real than the 'chair' 'I' am sitting on, the 'time' 'I' 'exist' in, the 'feelings' that drive 'me', or the 'thoughts' 'I' am 'thinking', or the 'intention' 'I' am 'enacting', since these all disolve into nothingness at that ultimate level of reality.  Each concept-object has its place in each level of reality, though at some levels each convept-object may be more or less emphemoral than at another level.



    I was at a 4-day retreat last weekend with my teacher and there were several moments towards the end of the weekend where there was a sort of stepping back into a level of awareness that is beyond (interesting that it actually "felt" like behind) the witness.  It was mostly a flickering state, but noticeable nonetheless.  Here's how it progressed.

    Starting with noticing the sense awareness of the gross body-mind, such as sight, sound, touch, thoughts, etc., then noticing, again a sort of stepping back, to the witness that is aware of these things arising but that does not have to actually do anything in order for them to arise and be experienced.  With some concentration, there was another apparent stepping back from that witness and all that was arising was still noticed but it did not feel like there was anything, such as "I", actually noticing it.  Even now it seems that with some concentration this state can be invoked by that progressive stepping back from immersion in gross sensory experience to witnessing of that experience to awareness without sense of there being an "I" that is doing the witnessing.

    This is a strange thing, beyond the concept of "I" that I have always held as the dualistic subject.  Another student there with 30 or so years of rigorous Zen practice had offered a couple of koans earlier in the weekend.  They were recalled in this state and seen with clarity that was beyond conceptual answers.  The best I can describe it would be that there was the context of the koan, but not a subjective "I" and objective content that had previously been conceptualized.

    Returning to this thread it has me asking perhaps the same question that was asked previously:  What IS "I"?  It seems from this perspective that is "behind" the witnesser, there is actually no real "I" in the UL.  As DougT indicates, that doesn't make the "I-thought" altogether unreal.  I am thinking that Doug's post (quoted above) is pointing to a relative "I" equivalent to a chair or feelings or other UR objects.  Maybe this is just semantics, but it seems that as long as we label any experience, we make it an object and place it in the UR.  So to be in any sense identified with subjective "I" automaticlly implies an objective "me" making that "I" dualistically grounded.  With this recent experience (who was it that experienced it?) "I" has been seen to be a relative and even useful concept, but only that.

    Peace

    Keith

    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -unknown
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  •  09-17-2006, 12:17 AM 8120 in reply to 7834

    • DougT is not online. Last active: 10-17-2006, 8:24 AM DougT
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    Re: What am I?

    geomo:
    ...It was mostly a flickering state... stepping back from
    <1)> immersion in gross sensory experience to
    <2)> witnessing of that experience to
    <3)> awareness without sense of there being an "I" that is doing the witnessing.


    Thanks Keith.  I find this a very nice description.  I have always been in wonder of the difficulty of describing these states and believe that with time and repeated attempt we as a (sub)culture will eventually be able to differentiate and articulate a common and more precise language and conceptualization of what goes on in this transcendental process.

    Would you mind trying to articulate the process of 'stepping back' and what yuo mean by that.  My experience/ conceptualization is one of "dis-identifying" with each level, freeing the contraction of "I"-ness from that level, and moving into another, subtler level of existence..  Then in turn ("with concentration") this new sense of "I"-ness dis-identifies from that level (and its quality/ characteristics of experience), and into the next level of identification and its corresponding experiences, etc.  How does this fit for you?

    geomo:
    Returning to this thread it has me asking perhaps the same question that was asked previously:  What IS "I"?  ... With this recent experience (who was it that experienced it?) "I" has been seen to be a relative and even useful concept, but only that.


    Interesting conclusion.  As I have been trying to articulate previously, I would put it a bit differently and I think the distinction is important.  "I" is a concept only when seen from a "higher" state of consciousness, but it is experienced as an "I" at the level in which it exists/ perceives.  When an "I" astral travels, that "I" seems very real, but slightly different from the one that moves around and experiences itself in physical space-time reality.  I would say that the "I" that you call "the witness" ("2)" above) is also a form of "I"-ness, but much less contracted than the one it just dropped off.  I suspect that the realm of "3)" above, which you described as "awareness without sense of there being an "I"" may also come to be experienced as a kind of "I"-ness, even though it is so subtle it appears to lack many of the characteristics usually associated with "I"-ness.  (i.e., It still lives in duality, so it is a form of "I").  Another way of saying this, and answering "what IS "I"?" is that "I" is that which experiences, even though it may be that which is experienced from another level....

    I find the notion of "I" as "only" a concept a bit demeaning and confusing and inconsitent with the rest of your last paragraph.  Is the body "only a concept" or do we talk about it having a level of reality, as does intellect, emotions, etc?   Would you call the "I" that transcends a single local of space-time and experiences say the fullness of Gia and all its life "only a concept"?  Wouldn't an integral perspective say that everything has a place and needs to be respected in it place in the great chain of being, even all the different "I"s.  They are no more "only concepts" that any other aspect of the great chain.

    geomo:
    So to be in any sense identified with subjective "I" automaticlly implies an objective "me" making that "I" dualistically grounded.

    Can you say more.  Not sure I follow this.  Thanks.

    Namaste

    DougT


    The relativity of reality does not negate the realness of each reality (and it's contents) at that level of reality....
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  •  09-18-2006, 6:46 AM 8225 in reply to 8120

    • geomo is not online. Last active: 10-16-2006, 6:40 AM geomo
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    Re: What am I?

    Hi Doug,

    I'll give a more thorough attempt later when feeling better (a bit ill this morning).  Just want to let you know I read your post and really appreciate your thoughts.

    Anyway, here is my feeble attempt in reply to your last question:  unfortunately, I cannot say more, because there is no "I" Wink [;)].  OK, that's cheap.  Really, this is a toughie for me.  All I can say is that my teacher talks of a stage (and not just state, as I understand him) of development where there is no more "I-thought" at all.  But he also says that he has only recently tapped into that and there may be more advancement and re-identification as the stage matures.  At this stage, his outward appearance and personality are no different than before (though the content and I suppose the context of his teachings are pretty radically different), but as he describes it, everything arises spontaneously because with out any sense that he is doing anything at all, whether talking, writing, witnessing, thinking, etc.  That state-stage is only conceptual to me, so as hard as it seems to be for him to describe it, even though he is it, I can't really do it justice.

    Keith


    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -unknown
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