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.

Game Over

“How far are you from ‘present awareness’ now? Are you anything other than that now? If not, full stop. Where else do you need to go beyond being that unconditioned reality? See these points right now, and it is game over.” – Excerpt from Full Stop! by John Wheeler

A Case of Mistaken Identity

If you are a seeker of the truth then you still identify with a separate self. That is, you think of yourself as an individual body/mind with independent thought and free will. In this case, you might as well identify with the highest form of thought possible, that of being consciousness itself.

Referring to metaphors, as consciousness you are the ocean, not the wave, the sun, not the clouds, the screen, not the images on the screen. As a separate individual you identify with the wave, cloud, and image.

It’s all a matter of perspective, a shift in perspective. If you know your thoughts, then you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts arise in you. You don’t arise in a thought.

If you know you know your thoughts, then you are ultimately prior to knowing, before or beyond consciousness itself – consciousness being just a high concept.

You don’t have to make any effort to be. You know you are. That is enough. The biggest mistake, the true original sin, is that we mistake ourselves to be the thought ‘I am.’ But this is only a thought.

The thought ‘I am’ is the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning. A thought is no more real than a shadow. Nisargadatta Maharaj says, ‘The shadow cannot be there without the substance – but the shadow is not the substance.’

All thoughts are shadows and therefore we cannot be a thought. If you observe your thoughts, even casually, you find that one thought replaces another in an endless parade – ‘I am this, I am not this, I want this, I don’t want this, they are this, they are not this,’ etcetera. So ignore the thoughts and be that which you truly are – identify with that which knows all thought.

You think ‘I am.’ What is that? Exactly where is the ‘I’ that we cling to so dearly, that we stake our body-mind identity on? Where is it now?