In some teachings, the “I” is said to be like a gateway between the relative and the absolute. In mandala art and other sacred art, there is a center or origin from which the rest of the piece springs. Sometimes this is called the bindu. I spoke a bit about “I Am” before but, technically, there has to be an “Am” or “being” to even utter “I” so “Am” actually predates “I”. To say it another way, “presence” must predate “presence of” but what is this presence? That’s the whole riddle of Self-Enquiry and “who am I?” What the hell is “I” and from where did it spring? Some say this is the highest question one can ask and it marks the return to or awakening to the absolute reality. I won’t make a value judgment about this but I will say it’s a highly interesting question that leads the questioner on a process of discarding relative definitions until there are no more definitions that will fit. “Neti, neti,” is the name of this practice but shall we call it a practice? It just sort of comes naturally as you search for the root of your very roots, as Rumi would say…

In the end, you sort of come down to presence or being. An awareness but not an awareness of because there are no objects “there”. This is the “I Am” without even the thought “I Am” which Nisargadatta Maharaj referred to, the Turiya state Ramana Maharshi spoke of, and so on. Many names have been used but really you can only called it pure being or just being. Then the “I” will rise from “That” and become this or that. This is pretty much straight Advaita Vedanta teaching but it also has its place in Buddhism, Zen, Christ Consciousness, and so on. Is it just a teaching or the absolute truth? Well, no one can decide that for you. Me, I like to believe there is an absolute state and have had some experience of “That” but I couldn’t assure you 100% that when the last neuron dies in this organic form that “I” will go on. In all honesty, and with my history of clinical depression, there were and still are times when “I” does not want to go  and has prayed for a peaceful end which, sadly, never came…

Then, when it did seemingly come, it was not the end. What a surprise! Awareness was still there and it was the purest, expansive, loving, peaceful, experience this “I” had ever known. No angels, no choruses singing, just pure being. So, that’s what I now consider to be the root of “I” and I could say IT seems to have two sides: conditioned and unconditioned. So maybe the “I” is like a gate or seed form like some teachings assert. Ramana Maharshi spoke about this in more detail. Even for a relative “I” it is a fascinating study. As for terms like “awakening” or “expanding consciousness,” I sort of chuckle at those. Think about this: how can that which never sleeps awaken or how can the infinitely expanded become more expanded? These are mind games which keep you on the seeking trail of searching outward when you really need to turn your attention to what already is at the root of your roots. What you can do is become more aware that you are that awareness or presence that predates the body, personality, and all following things. This is the meaning of “turn within”.

Having said that, I would have to say I sort of had an awakening experience and, yes, that is irony. But I would still question that experience, and others, also because they came and went. Does the absolute come or go or is IT merely aware? Isn’t awareness always wide open and awake to whatever comes? Does it have preferences or do they form a bit later? All interesting questions IF you’re into this sort of thing. Anyhow, such are my thoughts this morning and, again, these are things I think about as I go through my day and as I work on a little art. The following piece is fairly simple but I liked its simplicity. I added an “I” as the origin point as these thoughts came to me. Now what do you think happens if the “I” dissolves? Wouldn’t everything simply be the absolute then? Hmmm, that echoes Rumi’s, “how can there be a window where no wall remains?” 😀


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