Awareness: Who/What Am I? –

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Awareness: Who/What Am I?

Posted by Holger:

Thank you Ralph, for sharing:


Why is it that so many people are so unaware of their own higher existence? The answer is that their faculty of awareness itself is that spiritual existence. What ever they know, people know through the consciousness within them. That in them that knows anything is their divine element. The power of knowing – whether it be a thought that is known, a complex of thoughts such as memories, a thing such as a landscape – is a divine power for it derives from the higher self which they possess. 

It is a quest to become conscious of Consciousness, to explore the “I” and penetrate the mystery of its knowing power.

If we want certain knowledge, instead of vague hope, that the answer to this question “Who am I?” is “ I am of godlike essence”, we must follow the Quest into its disciplines and practices. 

The mysterious question “Who am I” is certainly deeply important, which is why it was put forward from the very beginning of his career by Ramana Maharshi. There is also another question which one may venture to state: “Where am I?” Am I here in the fleshly body or in the invisible mind?

Everything remembered is a thought in consciousness. This not only applies to objects, events, and places. It also applies to persons, including oneself, he who is remembered, the “I” that I was. This means that my own personality, what I call myself was a thought in the past, however strong and however persistent.  But the past was once the present. Therefore I am not less a thought now. The question arises what did I have then which I still have now, unchanged, exactly the same.  It cannot be “I” as the person, for that is different in some way each time. It is, and can only be, “I” as Consciousness. 

The knowledge that no two human beings are alike refers to their bodies and minds. But this leaves out the part of their nature, which is spiritual, which is found and experienced in deep meditation. In that, the deepest part of their conscious being, the personal self vanishes, only consciousness-in-itself, thought-free, world-free, remains. This is the source of the “I” feeling, and it is exactly alike in the experience of all other human beings. This is the part which never ides, “where God and man may mingle”.

The presence is always there, always waiting to be recognized and felt, but inner silence is needed to make this possible. And few persons possess it or seek it.

That we know this awareness exists means only that we have an idea of awareness. We do not see that awareness as itself an object, nor can we ever do so. If we are to know the awareness by itself, first we would have to drop knowing its objects, its reflections in thought, including the ego-thought, and then be it, not see it. 

If we search into the innermost part of our self, we come in the end to an utter void, where nothing from the outside world can reflect itself, to a divine stillness where no image and no form can be active. This is the essence of our being. This is the true Sprit.

In the Void the Real is hidden, all time is rolled up there: the entire world and the space holding it dissolves there, everything and everyone emerges and vanishes there. THAT alone is the ever-Real, ever-Being. That is what man must learn to consider as his own hidden being, a task of re-identification.

In that silent centre there is immense power and rocklike strength.

The Overself perceives and knows the individual self, but only as an imperturbable witness – in the same way that the sun witnesses the various objects upon the earth but does not enter into a particular relation with a particular object. So too the Overself is present in each individual self as the witness and as the unchanging consciousness which gives consciousness to the individual.

There is only a single light of consciousness in the mind’s camera. Without it the world could not be photographed upon the film of our ego-mind. Without it, the ego-mind would be just as blank. That light is the Overself. 

When man shall discover the hidden power within himself which enables him to be conscious and to think, he will discover the holy spirit, the ray of Infinite mind lighting his little finite mind.

Consciousness appearing as the person seeks itself. This is its quest. But when it learns and comprehends that it is itself the object of that quest, the person stops not only seeking outside himself, but even engaging in the quest itself. Henceforth he lets himself be moved by the Overself’s flow.

Too often beginners regard lofty emotions or extraordinary power or ecstatic rapture as the measure of attainment, when the only genuine measure is “awareness”.

This is the spiritual climax of one’s life, this dramatic moment when consciousness comes to recognize and understand itself.

Paul Brunton

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Created: February 1, 2024 
Last modified: February 1, 2024

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