3) WHO ARE WE – INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

 

Seekers want to have deep experiences, to see the Divine, but quite a few

forget to ask themselves the most basic Question:

 

WHO IS SEEKING?

WHO AM I?

 

Are you asking yourself this basic Question?

If not, why not?

Can “you” perceive who is looking, who is seeking in you?

If not, how will you discover it?

In His Forty Verses On Reality, Ramana Maharshi pointed out that:

 

If one enquires ‘Who am I?’ within the mind, the individual ‘I’ falls down abashed as soon as one reaches the Heart and immediately Reality

manifests itself spontaneously as ‘I-I’.

 

Although it reveals itself as ‘I’, it is not the ego

but the Perfect Being, the Absolute Self.

 

The very first step is the clear realization that what you always thought you were and identified yourself with

 

is not more “you” than the clothes you wear

or the house you live in.

 

Nisargadatta Maharaj agrees:

 

Whatever you perceive, you’re not that.

Moreover, what you always thought you were is not a single, coherent entity yet, not yet ONE

 

but many little confused, ever-changing “I’s”, and each of them

has their own inclinations, will, desires and fears

often in conflict with the others.

 

Apart from those which inspire us to find ourselves and the Divine, even the best of these “I”

 

are masks that we wear to deceive ourselves

even more than to deceive others.

 

Then who are we really?

According to Pascal:

 

We are only falsehood, duplicity, contradiction; we both conceal

and disguise ourselves from ourselves.

 

But this applies only to the outermost surface of our being

Would you ever disguise yourself…from yourself?

The way that Joni Mitchell put it is:

 

We are stardust, billion year old carbon. We are golden caught

in the Devil’s bargain. And we’ve got to get ourselves

back to the garden.

How will you get yourself back to the garden?

Unless you are one of the very rare exceptions, at least to a certain extent you have done so.

As Gandhi said,

 

Whoever does not know himself

is lost.

 

Do you believe that you know yourself?

If yes, don’t be so sure of it.

Nisargadatta Maharaj had the right attitude:

 

When I see that I am nothing, this is wisdom.

When I see that I am everything, this is Love.

Between these two truths my life moves.

 

Who we really are has been given so many names, like “Soul”, Atman, Jivatman, Higher Self, Inner Being, etc.

 

The illusion of the limited ”I” with which almost everyone

identifies himself with must be dissolved before

our true Self can manifest in us,

 

and until then we will remain a confused amalgam of desires, fears, aspirations, regrets, etc,

 

which are like a cocoon in which our inner being is preparing

to emerge – how soon is up to us.

 

How soon do you reckon it will be for you?

Why not sooner?

It is entirely possible right now, and Ramana Maharshi spoke of it as if it was the simplest thing in the world:

By enquiring into the nature of the I,

the I perishes.

 

With it ‘you’ and ‘he’ also perish. The resultant state, which shines

as Absolute Being, is our own natural state,

the Self.

 

It is OUR own natural state, who we really are.

 

You are secretly and integral part of the Divine

covered up by a limited human form.

 

You are also like:

– The richest man in the world

who had gone mad and thinks himself a destitute,

 

– A great Emperor

dominated by his own servants,

 

– A free spirit

that for some strange reason had built a small cage in his mind and imprisoned himself in it.

 

– A vast ocean

which believes to be trapped in a just one of its waves.

 

You are not aware of this because

 

you are not yet quite here, not yet fully present to yourself, and by identifying

yourself day after day with all your conditionings

you ended up believing that they are you.

 

Do you still believe that they are you?

Ha ha ha ha!

 

Don’t be deceived but realize in all levels of your being – understanding it only mentally doesn’t lead very far at all – that notwithstanding the appearances

 

you are NOT the “person” you always thought you were

 

but the Atman supporting your form from within, the Scriptwriter

behind the curtain of the stage of your life.

 

You are also potentially like all great Teachers.

But don’t let it go to your head!

 

That in your depths you are like them matters very little

until you begin to manifest it.

 

Vivekananda is very encouraging with his famous affirmation:

 

As body, mind, or soul, you are a dream; you really are

Being, Consciousness, Bliss (Sat-chit-ananda).

You are the God of this universe.

 

However unlikely at the moment this may seem to you.

But consider this:

 

Once you were a monkey on a tree: could you at that time

have imagined what you are now?

 

Can you imagine what you will be in the next level of our evolution?

It is incredibly wonderful.

 

Once you were a little baby, and then a child: could you at that time

have imagined what you are now?

 

Likewise,

 

you cannot yet imagine what you will become.

 

But the problem is that

 

most consciously or unconsciously do not want to discover who they really are because they have a negative self-image and a deeply rooted fear

of finding it out.

 

Are you afraid of what you might find out that you are?

Why?

There is no need to.

 

What you truly are is amazingly wonderful.

 

Deep within you there is silence vaster than the universe, and in it

you will remember who you really are.

 

Because of their negative self-image, most fear or suspect that they are “bad”, inadequate, worthless or whatever

 

and desperately hold onto a religion, a system of belief or another which tells them what to think, what to do and ultimately even what to be without having to confront their existential issues.

But this is just like taking a Valium or a sleeping pill:

 

we must dig deeper and deeper into ourselves, see clearly

even the very worst that we may find there,

and… change it at last!

 

How?

Indeed this is no easy task, but the most worthwhile o all.

As Jung said,

 

it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than

to the depths of our own being.

 

Why?

Because as many Teachers said

 

the question “Who Am I” it is like a knife that can cut

anything but not itself:

 

when a part of us is in conflict with another there seem to be two “I”: the one that we are presently identified with and another one, or even more than one, opposing the former,

 

while of course neither is real because our true Self is never

in a state of conflict with anything at all.

 

Nisargadatta Maharaj goes to the core of the issue:

 

You are asking, “Who Am I”? and you

are not going to get an answer,

because the one who will get the answer is false.

This means that you cannot get a real answer at the mental level.

 

The one in you who can find the answer

abides far beyond the mind.

 

Nisargadatta Maharaj adds that:

 

You may have an idea, a concept,and you will think you have found yourself,
but it is only a concept;

 

you can never see your Self.

 

The reason is that

 

We can only see what has a physical form, a shape and our Self

is formless, infinite, beyond all perception

as we conceive of it.

 

Mère asked:

 

How, you ask me, are we to know

our true being?

 

How would answer Her question?

Her reply is:

 

Ask for it, aspire after it, want it

as you want nothing else.

 

Are you asking for it, aspiring for it, wanting it as nothing else?

It is not just the best way.

It is the ONLY one.

She sums it all up thus:

 

You must go very deep within yourself and make

a very important discovery: it is that

 

you don’t really exist.

 

THERE IS ONLY ONE THING THAT EXISTS

AND IT IS THE DIVINE.

 

Living it:

From The Quest:

 

When Allah asked him who he was Abd Al-Kader replied that:

 

“According to my knowledge I am two:

 

to YouI am the Eternal, forever and ever…but in rapport to myself I am a pure non-being who never breathed existence’s perfume and only have beingness in the measure in which I experience Your Presence:

 

left to myself, away from You

I am not really there.”

 

Are YOU really there?

To which extent?

Are you one, two or how many?

 

The last word is this question:

 

Is it really you now reading these lines, or someone –

something else through you?

 

In the latter case, WHO?

 

Practice:

 

1) Consider this passage of Nisargadatta Maharaj:

 

In the immensity of consciousness a light appears, a tiny point that moves

rapidly and traces shapes, thoughts, feelings, concepts

and ideas, like the pen writing on paper.

And the ink that leaves a trace is memory.You are that tiny point and by your movement the world is ever re-created.

 

Stop moving and there will be no world.

Look within and you will find that the point of light is the reflection of the immensity of light in the body,as the sense “I am”.

 

There is only light, all else appears.

 

2) Meditate on these words of Sri Aurobindo:

 

In a certain sense we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous

and physical habits held together by a few ruling ideas,

desires and associations,

 

all amalgam of many small self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations…

 

Our surface being is only the deep eternal Self in us

throwing itself out as the adventurer in Time,

 

a gambler and a speculator in infinite possibilities, limiting himself to the succession of moments so that it might have all the surprise and delight of the adventure, keeping back its self-knowledge and complete being so that it might win again what seems to have lost,

 

reconquering all itself through the checkered joy and pain

of an aeonic passion and seeking and endeavor.

 

3) Meditate also on these words of Mère:

 

Never tried to understand how you feel? Yes?

No? How strange!

 

Never sought to understand how, for example, decisions take place in you? From where do they come?

What makes you decide one thing rather than another?

And what is the relation between a decision of yours and your action?

And to what extent do you have the freedom of choice between one thing and another?

 

And how far do you feel you are able to, you are free

to do this or that or that other

or nothing at all?

 

Haiku:

 

An old Zen master once asked:

before mind, time and the gods

how can I say I am? His answer was:

there is no need at all to SAY it!

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