Who am I? Who’s thinking? Thinking is the shape I’m taking as thinking happens. I am consciousness. I am awareness. In trying to understand Advaita teaching I’ve perceived thinking as something that happens in consciousness but not something I’m doing. I’m the witness apart from the witnessed watching it unfold.
Yesterday I saw how I am not separate from anything I witness. I am the experience. I am the witness as the experience not of the experience. Therefore, when a thought happens how am ‘I’ separate from the thought? I’m not. As much as every other part of my experience is a single, unbroken scene upon a screen, thought is a part of that as well. As I am the consciousness within which all of this appears then thought is a part of that appearance, too.
No matter which ‘part’ of the experience I ‘see’ I realize that it is all the shape consciousness is taking now. The ‘I’ that seems to function as Dylon is ‘seen’ as much as the tree over there or the car going by. Dylon does not see the car. It, including Dylon, is all ‘seen’ by me/consciousness. Dylon is thinking and seeing and that is being ‘seen’ by me which is consciousness but the seeing is the experience and there isn’t a separate witness to the experience. The seeing and the seen are a single thing. Thinking is within that seen scene.
So I sit and write and think as I write. Who am I? I’m here, I’m present yet I am nowhere I can be found. That’s amazing. I am; there is absolutely zero doubt. There is precious little after that of which I can say the same. I know that I am. I don’t know what I am. Sitting and writing and thinking are all being experienced but this ‘I’ I think I am doing these things cannot be found. I have an experience of thinking, sensing and perceiving. I know them to all be being experienced in a single place of awareness. Yet the experience of a me here and a not-me out there is powerful and persistent. The sense that there is a me here in or as this body/mind thinking is seemingly self evident. Yet I know at the same time that the experience I’m having of thoughts is happening in and made of exactly the same ‘stuff’ as the words I see on the screen before me. I’m having an experience of the experiencing of consciousness. The place of awareness where all of my experience is occurring is the actual experience that’s happening.
This is astonishing to behold each time I get close to ‘seeing’ it. The usual way that reality is perceived is all this different stuff out there existing and being apart from a solid me here as this body/mind and all of it is being experienced by a subjective brain in my head. Yet that is not my actual experience when I stop and look, really look.
My entire experience of reality is completely constructed from three things: thinking, sensing (the body) and perceiving (the world). These three things are what I’m actually experiencing now. I don’t experience a brain. I experience thinking and images seen in a placeless place that I conceive of as ‘up here’ in my head or brain. I don’t experience a body. I experience a grand set of sensations, which are all compiled faster than instantaneously, in exactly the same placeless place as my thinking and conceived into a body. I don’t experience a world out there. I experience a set of perceptions which I call seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching and compile exactly as my thinking and sensations were in exactly the same place of awareness and conceive of them as a world. My entire experience is happening in a single ‘place’ of awareness and I conceptualize a world containing a me containing a brain containing thoughts containing a consciousness. I conceptualize an experience which is exactly the opposite of my actual, direct experience. My actual, direct experience is of an ever-present consciousness within which thinking occurs which names a body which forms a world. Consciousness is not some miraculous epiphenomenon which emerged from a previously non-conscious piece of organic but dead matter devoid of a consciousness to perceive of such a thing as a consciousness of which it would have no facility to conceive save consciousness. Rather ‘matter’ emerged or formed from consciousness. Consciousness is sine qua non.
I’ve drifted into an intellectual argument. While entertaining the end result is never knowing. Trying to prove something like this feels closer to belief than knowing. Truth doesn’t need to be defended, it’s truth. It is whether anyone knows that it is or not. Once known no argument can sway what is known. An intellectual argument is an attempt to convince someone of something that neither ‘knows.’ Teaching is an effort to allow the unseen to be seen, to reveal what is.
This drifting takes me away from the seeing I seemed to be moving toward. Advaita would tell me nothing ever moves toward or away from anything. There is only One, movement is an illusion. It’s as though I was peeling back layers, watching what was emerging intently and then some shiny object grabbed my attention and I looked away and now I can’t quite remember where I was looking. There was a peace and happiness in the looking and I want to return to that place. Yet there is no place. I am that place. There isn’t anywhere to go. I’m already there. However these are just words. I’m repeating what I’ve heard, what I believe, what I think. None of it is knowing. Soon.