July 28, 2011
In this article, I will try and address what ‘I AM’ is and what it means to remain in the sense of ‘I AM’. We have known of many great Masters who have talked about it in the past and from them we have learnt that the ‘I AM’ is essentially a sense of ‘being’ – not being this or being that, but just plain being.
Yet, as a teacher, I have found many seekers who are struggling to know or understand what this means. Even the most dedicated of seekers sometimes take many years to finally locate their sense of being and to remain stabilized there, although it isn’t so difficult to find it earlier on itself. My attempt in this article is to address that seeker, no matter what state of consciousness he presently believes himself to be in, beginner or advanced.
Please bear in mind that my attempt to write this is neither to change anything in you, nor to provide any such system where you can transform into becoming something else. That would be a sin to do so. You are already what you are. You are pure uninterrupted joyous Consciousness always, now and forever, and nothing can change that. My reason to give talks or to write is only to make sure that you ‘see’ this fact. Unfortunately, I don’t find many who realize this.
The path is not about becoming something else. Haven’t we already become so many things? We play so many roles and characters all the time. If we observe deeply, we can see that the ‘I’ has become so many things. I become a woman, a son, a lover, a husband, a mother, an employee, and if all that isn’t enough to kill me already, then I become a spiritual seeker following some spiritual path, identifying myself as a kriya yogi, advaitin, bhaktin or reiki healer. We identify with so many identities – so much becomingness.
Also, the path is neither about knowing more, nor about accumulating knowledge, for we know way too much already. We say, “I know how to dance, sing, work on computers, crack a business deal; I know how to work effortlessly for hours, to sit endlessly practicing meditation; I know the various ancient scriptures, the Gita, the Bible… ” So much knowingness! It is also not about feelings. We feel so many things all the time. We say, “I feel sad, happy, joyous, wonderful, jealous, sick … almost all the time.”
Nor is it about possessing anything. We say, “This is mine, that is mine, my house, my body, my car, my children, my job, my spiritual state…” and if we didn’t have these, then it becomes, “my problem, my illness, my depressions, my failures, my frustrations, etc.” What possessions!
Therefore, the path is neither about becoming, nor about gaining knowledge or feeling or possessing anything, even though that is all we are doing all the time, isn’t it?
Let us look more intensely at the above statements and we will see that there is one little word which remains constant all the time while everything else around it has changed. That word is ‘I’. We use it all the time but we remain oblivious of it. The reason is – we have hardly paid any attention to it.
The ‘I’ remains hidden from our gaze while we get busy with everything else that this ‘I’ holds. We become more interested in living in fragments and we feel we understand all of that perfectly. We think we know our job, spouse, children, parents; we know our practice, religion, pain, joy, emotions; our business, problems…, and everything that emerges from the ‘I’. But this is a delusion. We can never be in control of a fragmented life.
There is just so much inner conflict which is born out of trying to understand a broken life and our attempts to do so have failed repeatedly, leaving us completely drained. This will exhaust and sap our energy. Instead, if we would rather be attentive to the ‘I’ on which hangs the complete network ahead of it then this problem will be resolved. Much will be put into place.
The acting principle of ‘I’ is commonly referred to as ‘I AM’ or simple ‘being’. This ‘I AM’ is what stands completely alone, without any attributes, and to it, everything else (fragments) is added. This is the ‘I AM’ we need to know closely. We only need bring our attention to that which precedes such a fragmentation. What is prior to such a division taking place?
It is the ‘I AM’. After all, can any of this fragmentation take place without me being there first? ‘Being’ or ‘I AM’ is necessary for anything else to manifest ahead. It is a precondition, isn’t it? Even this entire universe cannot remain without ‘you’ being first. The ‘I AM’ or Being is primary to everything. So can I know my being – prior to all the add-ons, not just as a mental concept but as a real experience in practical life? Yes!
All I do is take one step back from where I feel my entire life pulsates and moves. I just take that one little step back. That’s all! And I find myself in and as my being. That is my true center.
I take just one step back from every emotion, thought, perception, feeling, knowledge, various meditative experiences and I am at that center.
Right at this very moment you can truly feel that center, which is your pure being. Close you eyes and simply feel your sense of being pulsating in your heart or at the third eye or anywhere within and you will be centered in your being right away, untouched by anything – free of everything. The calmness and peace you will feel will be almost immediate and profound.
This, of course, is just a glimpse because the mind will not let you remain in that center for long. It will interfere and disrupt your peace. But then all you have to do is to take a step back from that movement of your mind and you will be back into that center again. You can do the same while working through a difficult job, a bad phase in life or while going through any stressful situation. Can you not just take a step back and feel what it is like to be there?
With repeated practice you will find yourself completely oblivious of what the mind, emotions and stories do. And you will find yourself stabilized in that center – unmoved and untouched by anything. Everything will seem to happen on the surface and nothing will disturb the one-pointedness of your meditative introspection, which will allow deeper inquiry to take place.
Once you stabilize in that state of ‘I AM’ you don’t hold onto anything or seek anything. Joy and bliss, which are qualities of pure being (I AM), will hold and captivate you. Then there will no more be any wavering from that center.
One step back may seem like a technique initially, but eventually with practice it brings its own ending.
To conclude, I would say that if you want to be of this world with all its suffering and false promises, then take a step forward and embrace it. But, then be ready for the roller coaster ride it brings with all its highs and lows. And if you truly want to be happy, joyous and wish to walk in this world as if you completely own it, then just take a step back. The choice is yours.