What I notice sometimes, in myself and others, is that when we are on the “spiritual path”, when we strive to wake up or become enlightened, it often becomes about improving ourselves. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, before we know it we’re trying to improve the very ‘self’ we are trying to see through.
We often believe we aren’t good enough, that we need to be better first before we can let go. And often this is done by trying to turn a ”bad” me into a “good” me. This is all fed by thoughts like: “Once I get rid of this insecurity or depression or anger…”, “Once I become more productive…”, “Once I stop wasting my time on unimportant stuff…”. Or, “If only I had more energy…”, “If only I was a little more intelligent, popular, present…” It’s a never-ending list.
We tend to think we need to become a perfect “me” first before we can see that we aren’t that “me” in the first place. And yes, improving ourselves does bring about some positive feelings for a while. You might feel a sense of achievement, you might experience more relaxation, more energy, more clarity, better self esteem…
But this doesn’t usually last very long. It is very tiring trying to keep up the appearance of that perfect “me”. Also those temporary good feelings about the “me” and what you’ve achieved can make you feel better than the people around you and may cause feelings of separation, rather than connection and oneness.
So what is the path then?
How do we genuinely let go and relax? How do we see through the ego structure and the “me” that is dreamed up? How do we connect to the “me” that lives in this world but is not of this world? How do we connect with who we really are?
All the sages and spiritual teachers guide us to stay with the feeling of “I am”, which is the answer to the centuries-old inquiry, “Who am I”? The answer to this question has to be felt within, and not answered from the thinking mind. The feeling of “I am” is the same in all of us; it is a shared being.
…stay with the feeling of “I am”, which is the answer to the centuries-old inquiry, “Who am I”? The answer to this question has to be felt within, and not answered from the thinking mind. The feeling of “I am” is the same in all of us; it is a shared being.
It is our essential being that shines through all of us as the knowledge and felt sense that “I am” before the “I am” is coloured by any of the specific characteristics of our thoughts or feelings. The sense of “I” before we add anything to it. As soon as we add anything to it, it becomes a description of our identity again – the “dreamed up me” which is not ultimately who we are.
So we are looking to identify with this underlying sense of presence, of being-ness, that is at once still, alert, and vitally alive.. And it is the same with every experience, whether we are having a good day or bad day, whether we are feeling happy or sad or angry or afraid or relaxed. Whether we are mindfully walking or are on autopilot, whether we are flitting about or doing something productive. Whether we are meditating or watching TV…. It doesn’t matter. Ask yourself the question “What is the same in everything?”
Look for the feeling of being.
It’s our shared beingness, it’s awareness being aware of it all, it’s the now-ness. That what always is, that what never changes, and stays the same no matter what. That what is the same in me, you, and every sentient being.
So rather than trying to improve, strive, want or reject, let’s try and become aware of the knowledge and feelings of “I AM” and see how our lives unfold when we identify with the I am-ness, this underlying sense of presence, rather than with our ego, our dreamed up identity that is dependent on a past.
This recognition of our I am-ness and the realisation this is a shared beingness, points to what love really is. And when you are in touch with love, this will in turn influence how you are and behave in this world.
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