‘Are we not wasps who spend all day in a fruitless attempt to traverse a window-pane while the other half of the window is wide open?’ ~ Wei Wu Wei
No way in.
No way out.
What are you?
You are like space.
Where are you?
If you were in, where would you go to get out?
If you were out, where would you go to get in?
For space, there is no in or out.
Space contains walls, but walls don’t contain space.
Just as there is the illusion that walls contain space, there is the illusion that the body-mind contains consciousness.
Space exists in its fullness regardless of what appears to exist in it. You can take things out of space, but you can’t take space out of things.
Space appears to be the background of all things.
Recognize the space-like element of your being – that which is ever-present, aware, and unchanging regardless of what comes and goes within it.
But you are not space. Space is also a thing.
You exist without space, but space doesn’t exist without you.
Who are you?
Regardless of what you think, feel, sense, or perceive, you are not that. We have been conditioned since birth to believe that we are made up of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, but if we look at the facts of our experience, nothing could be further from the truth – they are all temporary attributes, they come and they go, and therefore can’t be considered real.
If we aren’t our thoughts and feelings, who or what are we?
Ask yourself, do I know my thoughts, do I know my feelings, do I know my perceptions? The answer is obviously yes. And then ask yourself, when my thoughts disappear, when my feelings disappear, when my perceptions disappear, do I disappear with them? The answer is obviously no.
You, your essential aware self, knows the coming and going of all thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, but doesn’t come and go with them. Identify with this awareness that knows the rise and fall of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, not with the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions themselves.
And then see clearly that even this so-called awareness, this witness that observes the coming and going of all things, is itself a concept known by something beyond it.
We are That.
‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’
Breathing aside, as it is happening by itself, ask yourself the question, who is this I that knows it is breathing in and out?
It can’t be the personal I, the separate self, the body-mind we call ‘I’ made up of the temporary attributes of thoughts, sensations, and perceptions that are always coming and going. So perhaps a better question might be what is this I that knows it is breathing in and out?
‘What’ infers an object or thing, and all things are bound by the limitations of time and space – they appear and then eventually disappear.
So if the I that knows it is breathing in and out is not the personal I made up of fleeting thoughts, images, memories, moods, sensations, and perceptions – all subtle objects in themselves – or things ‘out there’ in the world, all of which are subject to the limits of time and space, what is it?
You know what it is because you are it. Not the limited personal you, but the limitless knowing presence that has always been with you, aware, unchanged, and untarnished regardless of your experience.
It’s hopeless to try and think this through. The ‘it’ we are talking about is prior to mind, prior to the body and the world. It is that part of you, we, I, that remains ageless as the personal self, the body-mind, is born, lives, and dies, as things out in the world age and disintegrate.
To say that it is a part of you is not entirely accurate. It is not a part of you as a body-mind in a world. You, as a body-mind in a world, are a part of it. ‘It’ is that which contains all things, yet is not itself a thing. It cannot be found because it has no objective qualities, but it is never not here. Call it consciousness, awareness, or Divine Spirit. Whatever you call it, it is the undeniably present and aware essence in which all things arise, are known by, and made of.
It is consciousness that knows it is breathing in and out, and because all there is is consciousness, consciousness is breathing itself in and out, although in reality there is no in or out for consciousness, so consciousness is just breathing.
We, as individual body-minds, are the manifest breath of consciousness. Yes, we appear to come and go, to be born, live and die, but in reality there is no place to come from and no place to go to. There is only infinite and eternal consciousness breathing itself, or more accurately, consciousness just is. And we are that.
‘The known always changes. The knower never changes.’ ~ Rupert Spira
To know yourself is as simple as knowing that which knows our experience. Our experience is always changing, but the knower of experience, of all experience, never changes. Discover the knowing presence within yourself that is never changing and know your essential being, our essential shared being, once and for all. No mistaken identity.
Can you have any experience outside of consciousness, outside of awareness, the knowing presence at the core of our being that has been with us unchanged, untarnished, since we were infants?
Look at your hand. Is it outside your field of awareness?
Feel the weight of your body on the chair. Is this sensation outside your field of awareness?
Listen to any sound that occurs. Is it outside your field of awareness?
Take a thought, an image, an emotion, a memory. Are any of these appearing outside of consciousness, outside your field of awareness?
Is it possible for anything to exist outside of consciousness, outside our field of awareness?
If you say yes, how would you prove this? You must be in consciousness, in awareness, to experience anything, even the erroneously labeled ‘outside of consciousness’.
Nothing can appear outside of consciousness, outside our field of awareness, because that is all there is.
What are the implications of this discovery?
All things that arise in consciousness must be made out of consciousness.
This being the case, if we, everything, is made out of the same stuff, there can be no real division or separation between any thing.
When there is no separation, no division, when all we experience is indivisible oneness, don’t we call that love?
We experience thoughts coming and going, but after one thought disappears and another one arises there is a gap. Where are we in this gap between thoughts?
Do we, the one who is aware of thoughts coming and going, disappear when a thought disappears and the gap appears? No. We are still here, in the gap. So we could now say, ‘I am the gap.’
But there is no gap.
To say that we are the gap between thoughts would be like saying that the sky is a gap in the clouds.
Just as there is only the unbroken continuity of the sky, sometimes obscured by the clouds, but never not there, there is only the unbroken continuity of the presence of awareness, sometimes obscured by our thoughts, sensations, or perceptions, but never not there.
Now ask yourself, who or what is it that notices the thoughts, gap, clouds, sky, and awareness?
But before you answer, here’s a hint: there is no ‘who’ or ‘what’.