I Think

I think . . .

Stop right there.

We think we think, but actually it’s a thought that thinks it thinks.

There is no ‘I’ that thinks.

Think about it.

Can you find this ‘I’ that thinks it thinks?

This sounds rather silly (frightening?) when you think about it, and it gets even sillier (more frightening?) when you try to find the ‘I’ that thinks . . .

. . . and can’t.

This ‘I’ that thinks it suffers, that thinks it prevails, that thinks it’s happy, depressed, sad, or lonely, where is it?

And if you can’t find it, who is the one looking?

It Is What It Isn’t

We sometimes use the well-known phrase, ‘It is what it is,’ to express resignation, as in, ‘Things may not be going my way but it’s what’s happening, so I just have to deal with it . . . or not.’ Or as a reprimand, as in, ‘Get over it.’ Or to show moving on with a shrug of the shoulders, as in, ‘Oh well.’

To all appearances, all experiences, all objects, subtle and gross, be they thoughts, images, memories, emotions, sensations, or anything that you can taste, touch, see, hear, or smell, be they good, bad, or neutral, we can say, ‘It is what it is,’ and it would be the perfect description.

To discover the source of our essential being, that which knows ‘I am,’ we can say, ‘It is what it isn’t.’

Just as the sky exists prior to the appearance of any clouds, you, the eternal and infinite aware presence, that which knows ‘I am’, precede all thoughts, sensations, and perceptions.

You are not.

Everything else is.

As far as appearances,

Nothing is more or less than it seems.

As far as the source of our essential being,

There is nothing to remember, nothing to forget.

There is just that which knows I Am,

And all that can be said about it is,

It is what it isn’t.

One Step Back

A popular televangelist preaches to his flock on the ‘power of I am.’ The jist of his sermon is that anything is possible if you have the faith to believe it. Instead of saying, ‘I am weak,’ you say, ‘I am strong.’ Instead of thinking, ‘I am stupid,’ you think, ‘I am smart.’ Instead of thinking, ‘I am a failure,’ you think, ‘I am successful.’ Instead of thinking that everyone hates you, you think that everyone loves you. In other words, if you don’t like who you are or what your circumstances are, all you have to do is change your way of thinking.

It certainly is possible that following this formula could temporarily alleviate the suffering of the illusionary separate self, or, as Richard Sylvester might say, at least make our personal prison a little more comfortable. Apparently the pastor’s message has helped millions to more fulfilling lives. But if he truly wanted to free his flock, he could take it one step further. Or one step back . . .

To cling to the idea of a personal self that has ‘the faith to believe’ is like identifying with a wave on the ocean – a wave rises from the ocean, flows for a time on its surface, and then is absorbed back into its depths. And that is the nature of all experiences of the body-mind. No matter how hard we try to hang on to our qualities, our activities, our relationships, our beliefs, they are no more lasting than a wave on the ocean.

Staying with the same metaphor, if the ocean is the source of all waves, what is the source of all qualities of the body-mind, of all appearances of the world?

We can say I am this or I am that, but what happens when we take one step back and simply say I am? What is the essence of our being when all attachments are set aside and we stand alone as I am?

The power of I am is . . . I Am. Period. Not I am this or I am that. Simply I Am – that knowing presence that exists in you, in all of us, prior to, during, and after all appearances arise, linger, and disappear. Actually, this knowing presence doesn’t exist in us. We, that is, the idea of we, exist in it, as it.

And just as the ocean continues to be itself regardless of the waves that come and go on its surface, I Am, or pure knowing, is unwavering and ever-present regardless of whatever appears to be happening in the body, mind, or world.

Relax as this unencumbered I Am-ness. Explore its boundaries and find them non-existent. Explore its origin and find it has no beginning or end. In the instant recognition of its infinite and eternal nature, experience that there can be only one, and with this understanding, dissolve into your, our, essential nature of limitless peace, beauty, and love.

This is the true power of I Am.

I Fall To Pieces

When I, the separate self, take an honest look at my makeup, I fall to pieces. All I see, all I find, are fragments. Nothing of any substance can I call my own.

It turns out that the I that I have always thought I am is the wrong I! It is not an individual I made up of passing thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions. How mistaken could I be?

It’s the only I there is. The only I that can be. The I that knows all things, yet itself cannot be known. The I that cannot be found, yet is everywhere. The I that is beyond thought, beyond appearance.

This I cannot fall to pieces, cannot be divided in any way. It would be like trying to cut the sky in half.

It’s Only The Separate Self

It’s only the separate self that feels challenged by an uncomfortable situation. That feels resistance, frustration, fear, anxiety, anger, and hate.

It’s only the separate self that needs to be right.

It’s only the separate self that needs to hear things in the correct tone of voice.

It’s only the separate self that thinks others are projecting their thoughts and feelings onto them.

It’s only the separate self that feels put upon and misunderstood.

It’s only the separate self, the thought that says, ‘I am this, I am that,’ that sees itself as separate, divided from the outside world of others and things.

And yet when we look in earnest for this separate self, our experience shows us that there isn’t one.

A separate self cannot be found, yet we live our lives under its spell.

Self-esteem is shattered or aggrandized, relationships are overly possessive or torn apart, wars are waged, and senseless destruction, internal and external, prevails, and all on behalf of a non-existent entity.

See the truth, the truth of your own experience, that there is no self – only fleeting thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions – and therefore no other. No inside. No outside. All that can be found is limitless consciousness, the source of all experience.

Our true identity is this limitless consciousness, this one and only limitless consciousness. Our essential nature is that of boundless and loving openness. We have nothing to achieve, nothing to fear, and no belief to cling to. We, you, I, are free.

The Most Relaxing Ride Of All

You find yourself on a roller coaster ride of ever-changing thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, and perceptions.

It’s uplifting and exciting one minute, disturbing and frightening the next.

Up and down, up and down. Sometimes gut-wrenching. Sometimes nauseating. Not the most relaxing ride.

But then there is an unexpected moment of stillness pervaded by a profound peace. You have a sense that all is right with the world, with the universe, that all things exist in balance and harmony . . .

Then off you go again on the roller coaster. Expectations build as you go up, up, and up. Anxiety grows as you go down, down, and down. And then there’s everything in between.

Actually, the original ‘you’ – the you before there is a you – is not riding on the roller coaster.

Look closely and discover that this original you is the ever-present observer of the ride, not the ever-changing participant on the ride. You know the ups and downs of thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, and perceptions, but you don’t go up and down with them. In fact, you don’t go anywhere because you are everywhere to begin with. There’s no place for you to go.

Thoughts and sensations depend on you for their existence. You don’t depend on anyone or anything for yours, as you are the source of all appearances – you exist before, during, and after all appearances come and go. You are the constant, ageless, unchangeable, unlimited space of awareness that knows all of the ups and downs but is not affected by them in any way.

This isn’t just a fanciful idea. Check it out in your own experience and discover the original you that is always present and aware, that knows but can’t be known by anything other than itself – the infinite and eternal nameless source of your being. Our being. One being.

Live naturally, effortlessly, as this knowing presence – the most relaxing ride of all.