As a dedicated spiritual seeker it’s not long before you discover that there are two of ‘me’ – the individual self, made up of the body-mind living in the world, and the witness, that which observes the individual self and the world. As you investigate further, one ‘me’ emerges as more real than the other. In the end, both dissolve into pure knowing.
We think, feel, and act in the world as though we are an individual person, separate and unique from all the other beings. It’s obvious that we are all unique individuals, but if we look closely at our experience we are not separate. Nothing separates us from an other or anything else except the idea of separation. And how dependable is an idea? Dependable as using a cloud as a stepping stone to the sun.
There is an element of our being that is aware and unchanging. It exists with or without our body, mind, and world. It is the background of all experience, but is itself not an experience. Experiences come and go, but this unchanging awareness is ever-present. It is totally dependable.
If we identify with the changing elements of our being, such as ideas, emotions, sensations, and perceptions, we will be forever searching for some stability, some meaningful lasting peace, or, as the mystic Dattatreya sings in the Avadhuta Gita[i], the ‘unchanging bliss’ of pure consciousness.
The quickest way to identify the unchanging awareness within you is to notice that part of your being that is ageless.
When someone asks us on our birthday if we feel any older most of us might pause for a moment and then say no, not really. What if you were asked, do you feel any older than you did 10 years ago? Twenty years ago? Fifty years ago? You might say that my body definitely feels older, and my memory might not be as good, but there’s some part of me that does not feel any older. Where do you go when you answer these questions? Who is speaking? Which ‘me’ is speaking?
Something timeless is speaking.
This is it. This timeless element of your being that emanates from the light of pure consciousness or pure knowing. When you look at the core of all experience, the common element is knowing. Nothing exists outside this field of knowing. If you can find something that appears outside this field of knowing . . . well, you can’t.
Rest as this light of pure consciousness and know the unchanging bliss that is at the core of your being, actually, our being, as there can be only one. If we look at the qualities of this pure consciousness we discover that it has no beginning and no end and is ever-present, therefore, it is infinite and eternal. Where is there room for two in that? As Dattatreya ends the Avadhuta Gita, ‘I am everywhere, like space.’
Now back to the beginning, ‘all two of me’ – the individual self and the witness that observes this so-called individual self. This is a very interesting concept, but that’s all it is – just another one of our nebulous stepping stones.
Step beyond all concepts, all thought. Step beyond the beyond, dissolve into pure knowing, and discover the timeless self. Our timeless self.