The Fundamental State

I’ve been talking a lot about Ramana Maharshi’s self-inquiry lately.   I’d like to walk you through a series of questions, trying to help direct you to the ‘I am’ state, the fundamental state, self-realization, whatever you wish to call it.  To do so, I have to ask you to leave everything for now.  This requires no tools or special techniques.  You do not have to close your eyes, or do breathing exercises, or listen to special meditative music, or anything like that.  What we will be going for is not an idea, so this is not a state of thought.  This state reveals itself when there is peace and detachment.

First, empty yourself of everything, even the concept of emptiness.  Empty yourself of every idea, every perception, every experience, every concept, every emotion, every imagination, all that you’ve ever learned or thought, and leave it all behind.  Do not come into this with any belief systems because those will only hinder you from finding this.  There’s no religion here.  No science.  No set way that things work.  Keep emptying yourself, and emptying yourself, until you finally come to something which you cannot empty yourself of.  Pure awareness.  The spaceless space.  The I am.  This is something that is immovable, ever-present, incapable of being touched.  I’m asking you to remain in this place while I ask you a series of questions about it.  Each of these questions are a form of self-inquiry, and I will answer each in turn.

Now that you’ve emptied yourself, now that you’re perceiving that which remains, is it an object?  Can it be photographed or captured in some way?  

No.  This state is aware of objects.  It is that which witnesses the objects.  It is also both the object, and not the object, at the same time.  It cannot be captured or represented by anything other than itself.  No symbols, no mathematics, no image.  It simply is, and if you self-inquire, and keep asking yourself, “Who am I?”  this state is there, and has always been there.

Was it created?

No.  It exists outside of time.  Time flows on it, like pictures change on a computer screen.  This screen, this spaceless space is unchanging.  It’s always been there and always will.

Does it belong to some people and not to others? Does it belong to anybody at all?

Every idea, concept, imagination, or perception of anything “other” can be perceived from this state.  One may have a concept of self, and relative to this self-concept ideas about “others” may be perceived.  For example, one may identify with their body, and then ideas about others and the external world arises.  But these are things perceived on the unchanging spaceless canvas of awareness.  This only happens if we self-identify with a particular experience or idea; only then others will arise relative to this.  But assuming we have such a self-concept, this state we’re discussing now belongs to all and is in all.  It’s in you and it’s also in all the others.  It’s not exclusive to anyone or anything.  Everything that does arise arises within it and on it, including others and every idea about anything other than self.  But when you’re in this spaceless state, there are no others, so this question makes no sense.

Can it become sick? Or depressed? 

No.  It is unchanging.  Certain pictures being projected onto the spaceless canvas of this awareness may be accompanied by an emotion of depression, or there may be a “movie” playing of a body experiencing sickness, but if one perceives this canvas, they can dissociate from the movie and experience inner peace.  Without any movie playing on the spaceless canvas of awareness, the background experience is unchanging and unalterable peace.  Sickness and depression are temporary illusions being played on this screen of awareness.  If this awareness realizes that thoughts and emotions are experiences which flow through its spaceless space, and one does not attach or self-identify with these experiences flowing through it, then one silences the mind and depression no longer exists, though physical pain of the body is still experienced.

Did it come from somewhere?  Can it leave?

Space, along with any concepts of “elsewhere” arise on this spaceless canvas of awareness.  It cannot go anywhere.  It is prior to space and time.  Space and time are things experienced on this unchanging screen.

Can it belong to any religion or any institution?

All religions and institutions are ideas, concepts, imaginations, and perceptions which are experienced from this state of awareness.  This is beyond religion.  Any experience or idea of God or gods happens on this screen of awareness.  This state is beyond an external God and all ideas of your-self.  This is beyond faith, or a need for faith.  This is not something that one has to believe in.  It is immediately experienced and is beyond doubt.  In that sense it’s more real than anything experienced.

Does it have any expectations?

Expectation is a belief that something in particular will happen.  All beliefs are experienced on this canvas, this spaceless space.  They float in and out of this space and one can self-identify with them, or not.  But this state is beyond any belief or belief system.

Does it judge anyone?  Does it accept or reject anything or anyone?

All value systems are objects experienced on the spaceless space of awareness.  If one self-identifies with a particular value system, then a set of accompanying ideas and other actions flow out of it.   This is the source of judgement, such as opinions, moral evaluations, ideas of who deserves what and for what reasons, and other things like this.  However, the spaceless canvas of awareness is beyond value systems, though it allows one to self-identify and experience the consequences of any particular value system.  Accepting and rejecting result from self-identifying with a value system.  Looking at it all from “above”, from the fundamental state of awareness, it is possible to accept or reject anything.  It’s your choice.  The keyword is “your”.  This “your” comes from the self-identification with the value system.  You believed and consented to the value system, and from that acceptance flowed an experience of it.  The spaceless space of awareness does not judge anyone or anything.

Can it be manipulated?

The spaceless space, the divine screen, cannot ever be manipulated.  It is unchanging.  What can be manipulated is what displays on the screen of conscious awareness.  This is done through self-identification.  Once one self-identifies with something being displayed, they enter the world of consenting, believing, and pursing certain experiences as opposed to others.  When you believe that some experience is “you”, and some other experience is “other”, you now have the task of fully fleshing out this identify.  You enter the project of adding to this false identity, or taking away from it.  You’re always dissatisfied with this limitation and the thought of, “Is this all there is?” periodically enters your mind.  That is the true Self calling you back “home” beyond limitation, beyond boundaries.  One is always everything being seen on the screen of awareness; manipulation is only of the veil of ignorance of oneself.  The true Self cannot change, which is what we all are.  What changes is the dream world we project by veiling ourselves in temporary ignorance.

How old is it?  Can it end?

It is beyond time.  Time manifests on this spaceless space of awareness.  All objects manifest within awareness, and if there is some continuity and order to what’s manifesting, you could meaningfully speak of time.  Death is an abrupt change in what’s being displayed on the spaceless screen of awareness due to a removal of a limitation or set of limitations you formerly agreed to experience, or temporarily self-identified with.  However, the screen of awareness is eternal and there is no death or end to it.  The only thing that can die are illusions.  And speaking of the illusions, they never “die” either, and are always available as eternal possibilities which you can experience at any time.

Does it know inside or outside?

If one self-identifies with a particular experience, such as “I am this body”, then ideas of inside and outside come out of that.  The experience of the body, along with any ideas of inside, outside, or anything else, happen on the spaceless canvas of awareness.   One can be aware of an inside and outside, if one wants to.  Or there can be experiences flowing on the screen where there is no self-concept at all.  This awareness can have a limited, veiled experience without any ego.  For example, one could be a bodiless, spherical viewpoint flying over a beautiful landscape, aware of the surroundings, but not thinking anything, or exclusively “being” anything that is experienced.  Sort of like enjoying a beautiful screensaver or something.  In fact, if one chooses, this human life can become this, if one no longer identifies with the body, emotions, or thoughts.  If one changes their perspective awareness, they’ll watch this life unfold on its own.  Choices will happen on their own, like everything went on auto-pilot.  All stress goes away.  Life is left to whatever forces set it all into motion.

How far away from you is it? Can you reach it?

Space arises on this canvas of awareness, but the awareness itself has no distance from you.  You are it and it is you.  How would you reach for it?  You’d have to create a body for yourself, self-identify with it, and then create another object within your awareness, self-identify with it as well, and then reach for it with this body.  For example, you could see a tunnel of light, enter it, and then experience some sort of merging, followed by a positive emotional experience and a voice saying, “Now we are one!”  That’s a nice experience, but it’s all an illusory movie happening within awareness.  You’re never apart from the spaceless space.  You don’t have to be “saved” from anything other than your-self (the amalgamation of illusions you’ve identified with).  Intense spiritual practices, prayer, and devotion may help you quell your own mind, and remove wrong self-identifications, waking you up from the dream you’ve gotten yourself into, but it doesn’t change who and what you are fundamentally.

If it has no form, if it is not an object, how are you perceiving it?

The real mystery to all of this is that this state isn’t an object, nor is it an idea, nor is it an emotion, yet through self-inquiry your conscious attention will eventually arrive at it.  This true Self, which you are, is Itself Self-Aware.  It can perceive Itself.  It knows Itself and has always known Itself.  Then when you direct your attention toward it, you’ll think, “What is this and where have you been this whole time?”  And it’s like, “I am”.  That’s when streams of tears roll down your face.  The thought then arises, “Oh my.  I’ve found God within myself!”  Then you enquire further and realize, oh wait, this is me, the real me.  I’ve always been this, and always will be this, and I never was any of the things I thought I was!”  More tears roll down your face followed by total peace.  The false illusory self dissolves, and you become this spaceless canvas of awareness.  You are now at one with everything, atonement, which means “at-one-ment”, the moment where all becomes one.  Sin is the belief that you were other than what you are, believing in “other” when all is one.  One must atone, or “at-one” for one’s sins.

What gave you the power to know that it is uncreated?

It’s directly perceived.  Directly known.  To even assume it was ever created makes no sense.  Time is flowing on the spaceless space of this awareness.

So now you’ve discovered this “Self”.  Of what value is such a discovery? And to whom?

Value systems are thoughts which one self-identifies with.  What this will mean to you depends on that value system.  This is beyond any conception of value, which would simply be an experience happening on this spaceless canvas of awareness.  The same goes to whoever one believes they are.   It can mean the world, it can mean nothing, it can be something one thinks about all the time, or something one never cares to think about at all.  To me, it meant everything.  It was all I ever wanted to know, and now that I know it, nothing else seems to matter, so much so that I dissolved completely within it and wanted nothing more to do with illusions of being ‘Jason’.  For the first time, I’m satisfied with something that I’ve found.  Everything I’ve searched for before, I found it all lacking,  but this is exactly what I was after.  How many other things in this world can you say that about?  I never want to let it go.  It’s the single most important event of my life, and I’d never give it up for anything or anyone.  I’d sell all I have for this realization.  Give up all worldly pleasures.  But one has to receive to call from within, I suppose.  If that’s not there, this will all just sound bizarre, possibly pointless.  This realization will not give you special powers or unique insights into anything.  There’s no big cash prize waiting for you.  It’s something one has to search for for its own sake, and looking back over my life since my late teens, it’s all I’ve ever searched for or cared about.  Now all I want to do is just remain in this state of awareness.

6 thoughts on “The Fundamental State”

    1. From the tone of the article, the author seems to feel people like me either make it up, or it’s some subtle form of mental illness similar to depersonalization or something. I agree with some things he writes in this article, other things he seems to miss the mark. When it comes to this selfless state of being, this is where my exploration of consciousness has taken me, and whatever this is, it’s very profound. I’m learning more about it each day. The article’s descriptions of the state from those who have experienced it are roughly what I experience as well. However, the author dismisses this conscious state as something of little value because it doesn’t give a person new powers or something. If he experienced this state, he’d never speak like this. This state brings a profound peace that isn’t dependent on external circumstances. Then he’s just like, yeah, it’s of no value! But why do people strive for power over the world? Or to shoot “qi bolts” from the third eye? Because they think these things will bring peace, contentment, and happiness. This type of meditation actually does bring peace. After experiencing it firsthand, I’m one of its greatest advocates.

      As for the agency stuff, it’s not that there’s no sense of agency. It’s more subtle than that. It depends on how you self identify. You can exert free will, if you want. But now you’re more aware and you can perceive events unfolding on their own, the brain making its decisions without anything from consciousness. For example, you’re not exerting any conscious energy to “do” something, yet actions are still taking place. Talking is happening. Work functions are still happening. Eating, drinking, and other things are still happening. Then you realize, oh, this all can happen on its own! It doesn’t go under the hood per se, it’s more that you’re no longer “touching” it. It’s still there if you place your attention there. Maybe this explanation will help — if you believe there’s a “you” who directs these things, then you’ll feel this false sense of agency. When there’s no longer a “you”, or your “you” is one and the same as the universe, the universe making your body move is the same thing as “you” making the body move. You can create a fictitious “you” in your imagination and believe it’s making decisions by forces outside the universe, but this type of meditation will help you realize that there is no separate “you” with with such imagined powers. The universe makes the body move, and the universe brings about a false sense of self that supposedly did it, and you watch both of these things from a more fundamental state of awareness. Does this make sense? As Carl Sagan said, we are the universe looking back at itself, aware of itself. Who is this separate agent that’s acting beyond reality? You are one and the same thing as reality! As for the so-called “individual” who you formerly believed was acting, you realize it’s a bundle of thoughts, emotions, and all that, brain generated. This separate “you” is just an idea, a false construct of the brain. You watch this illusion come and go within awareness. The false self is just another thing experienced. You’re beyond it, and that state is some sort of unchanging canvas of awareness. There’s no words for it, but one can “experience” it.

      I haven’t experienced any memory problems. As for the person whose father had died, that could happen in a state like this. The “internal” conscious world and “external” world others perceive can “disconnect”, I suppose. Like a lot of things, this could be used to run from your problems. It’d serve as a coping mechanism.
      It’d be far more effective than alcohol or drugs. I wouldn’t even blame someone for doing so. The bodily machine goes on and does what it’s always been doing, you’re just not “watching” it in the same way any longer. The standard theory is that brain activity creates consciousness, but when I experience states like this, it’s almost as if this type of consciousness is prior, and that the brain’s consciousness happens within this more fundamental awareness, which is what interests me about all of this. When you keep your attention focused on this unchanging canvas of awareness, in a profound way, emotional affects are drained and don’t have the power they once had. In this respect, you’re far more free than you once were. Emotions and desire can’t pull you this way and that like they did before. You don’t need the things you used to need to feel complete, whole, at peace.

      The author seems to feel people in this state are running from their problems, unaware of the contents of their own mind, like it’s a mental illness, and they’re falling apart. This is deeper than that. I’m a successful professor, nothing’s falling apart in my life. I don’t feel I’m running from anything, nor is there any weird inconsistencies in my behavior that anyone has ever noticed in me. Then he gets into racism. This state is supposedly for racist white males running from reality. I find that strange. Reading that, I was just like, huh?

      This knowledge is ancient. The earliest accounts of this state that I know of are written about in the Vedas, which are thousands of years old. Some are seven thousand years old. I learned about this from Ramana Maharshi, a renowned Indian saint who taught all about this state and how to enter it. It originates in India, and has roots that go back to ancient times. The ancient Vedic texts talk all about this selfless state, and even relate it to the cosmic order for how reality comes into existence and how it relates to consciousness — which is why it interested me, a physicist. Here are some examples:

      “The separate self dissolves in the sea of pure consciousness, infinite and immortal. Separateness arises from identifying the Self with the body, which is made up of the elements; when this physical identification dissolves, there can be no more separate self. This is what I want to tell you, beloved.”
      (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Chapter 2, 4:12)

      “As the rivers flowing east and west
      Merge in the sea and become one with it,
      Forgetting they were ever separate rivers,
      So do all creatures lose their separateness
      When they merge at last into pure Being.”
      (Chandogya Upanishad. 10:1-2)

      “What the sages sought they have found at last. No more questions have they to ask of life. With self-will extinguished, they are at peace. Seeing the Lord of Love in all around, Serving the Lord of Love in all around, they are united with him forever.”
      (Mundaka Upanishad. 3:2:5)

      To Hindus, achieving this state of consciousness allows one to transcend the cycle of birth and death. They’ve known about this a long time. They call it liberation. Buddhists also talk about it when they speak of emptiness.

      I wanted to see if I could experience this state firsthand, and then make my own determinations about it. It’s very real, though I don’t fully understand every detail about consciousness and how it relates to brain activity. I don’t think anyone fully understands the brain.

      1. Thank you for sharing your view on this, it’s very interesting to read a firsthand response. The people interviewed on the paper didn’t get a chance to comment on the paper I guess, nor would they write a letter to the editor.

        1. I’m happy to discuss this state of consciousness with you. However, you must remember that this isn’t something that requires an academic understanding. It requires no special tools, no special knowledge, and there’s nothing to figure out. Nobody has any special privileges when it comes to this state. Achieving it won’t make you special in any way; you actually feel one and the same as everything you experience. There’s nothing to explore. It’s a state completely familiar to anybody. It’s just being aware of the “happenings” of existence without mental noise and false constructs of the mind, the most noisy of which are self concepts. I can give you an exercise to try? Just sit in your bedroom, on your bed side, and just sit there. Can you do so without your mind going all over the place? Without feeling you need to do this or that? Worrying about this, worrying about that, thinking about this, thinking about that? In this state you sit peacefully and silently for hours and hours, thinking little to nothing. I used to only experience this inner silence in small gaps inbetween thoughts which were always racing all over the place. Maharshi’s self-inquiry attacks the source of these thoughts. Beliefs that you need this or that. He rids you conceptions of what boredom is. What you need to be happy. What happiness is. That there’s nothing you “need”. That external things have no power over you. You end up reprogramming everything through the process, and those noisy thought streams all end. More and more you’re in that state most only experience in small gaps. And as you’re more and more silent, peace and happiness fill your interior being. It gives a person a hard reset, a total reboot, back to root consciousness or something, almost like ridding your inner operating system of all the background processes, spyware, and everything else you had running.

          You don’t see angels or heavenly realms. You’re just in the bedroom, on your bed side, and all is fine. You don’t need the things you once thought you needed to feel content. You can be single or married, and you’re indifferent. That’s not where your peace and contentment comes from anymore. You take that back from the “external” world. Peace and contentment are your nature, who you are. What is all this noise? Who needs it! You can be working as a janitor someplace, or a be a big shot CEO. It no longer matters. You can be surrounded by people who love you, or you can be completely alone. This peace doesn’t care either way. You’re free of external circumstances and this mental noise, this mental prison which used to control your life. It’s beyond wonderful. This gives a peace that transcends achieving goals, or relationships, or careers, or whatever else.

          In my life, it’s led to a minimalist existence. I have a lot of inner “space”, sort of like a computer whose memory and resources has been freed up. Like when it comes to my students, I have all the time in the world for them. Need a special review session? Sure! Need one on one tutoring? Ok! My life is far less busy, so I have time for people. Time to sit with my grandpa at the nursing home for hours. Time to just visit with strangers and learn about their life. Before I was always busy busy busy, because I felt these “things” and “states of existence” were required to feel inner peace. I sort of felt like I need to get things “fixed” before I would have time to do these other things. Before long I was completely consumed chasing this, chasing that, working on all these projects. Have to earn all this money, have to visit this place and that, meet these people, expand horizons. That’s what a rich life is! Then I learn all this, and I transcend it all. I can be in a small rural town in the middle of nowhere, or a big metropolis. I don’t need anything that’s in either location to feel like I belong. I can be around sophisticated people, simple people, ignorant, intelligent, I feel the same no matter who I’m around. Without a self identity or thoughts, it’s just a spontaneous happening, and love just flows out of you. I became kind and patient with everyone. I don’t care where I live, what I do to earn money, what others think of me, or any of the “stories” most immerse themselves in. Most people’s minds are filled with stories of who hurt them, their self narrative, how they got where they are, what they need to overcome, how they need to better themselves, and on and on. They have dismal worldviews about some meaningless existence, they’re going to die, and what did it all mean? I’m one and the same as the eternal universe which always goes on, spontaneously. I enjoy the smallest things. I notice smells, tastes, and small wonders all around me. I don’t have any these stories anymore. In that sense I’m free, free of this false self I always used to be. Free of all the things I always thought I needed which I now realize never mattered to begin with. Maybe I’ll write an entire post of these stories which self-inquiry flushed down the toilet. And that’s what Maharshi’s self-inquiry does — flushes a toilet which has been backed up a long time. Those murky waters become clear, this peace enters, and you want the living water to flow forever.

          1. This is very interesting, thank you for elaborating. A couple of quick questions if you don’t mind. I am really trying to understand better that state from a couple of view points.

            1. Do you need a mantra during that exercise? When your mind “goes all over the place” what is the more effective way in your opinion to calm it? A mantra? Focus on breathing? Trying to observe the thoughts in a detached way?

            2. [Personal, you may want to skip.] Do you still engage in a physical exercise, resistance or endurance training routines? Your earlier blog entries indicated you’ve been an active gym member for many years. With the inner peace that you experience, do you have any remaining drive to improve your physical body, or on a lower rung, still keep in shape, or at the base – you don’t care anymore what happens with this bodily vehicle?

            3. [Personal, you may want to skip.] Assume a career opportunity presents itself, requiring to expend certain effort to achieve it. If I understand the state you describe correctly there would be no preference for either current or future situation where the promotion opportunity will have been achieved. So, how do you think decision would be made? Consider that non-decision of staying put is a decision as well, and there would be pros (and cons) for the new state where you have been promoted. For example – opportunity to meet new people, novel things, new experiences, etc. Understand there is no “you”, but still – would you let the chips fall as they may, or will you expend mental energy to consciously nudge the decision either way.

            4. Don’t think that either Hinduism or Buddhism clearly answer why Maya exists. However it exists, and _if_ we assume it exists for a reason – for example for consciousness to experience the multitude of choices and situations it itself dreams of, then the state you describe may be either an evolutionary dead end, or the end of the road in this space time 3D reality – let’s call it pinnacle of evolution. Two opposites really. World full of Indian saints or liberated beings doesn’t work, it is stagnant and demographically end in a generation or two . Or it is simply a very different world. Reading about Maharshi indicates he could have starved in the deep meditative state without attendance by devotees.
            In both evolutionary opposites, this state of peace doesn’t allow (individuated?) consciousness to participate in the world as it participated previously. The inner peace state therefore may be optimal for the individual, but _may_ not be optimal from a more consolidated perspective. Couple of assumptions along the way, yes, but this would imply we shouldn’t really strive to achieve this state for the greater good of all involved. Are you aware of this being discussed anywhere, or was this something you yourself considered?

          2. 1. In the past I would do a lot of Kriya yoga, which is a focus of attention / breath exercise. You focus your attention on the spine and breathe in and out. It can be very helpful. From my experience, thought isn’t something you “try” to stop. It stops on its own. When awareness comes out of certain confusions it was in, due to false self identifications, most all the useless mental chatter and noise ends, and the true background of peace and contentment is perceived. That is our real nature.

            2. I still frequent the gym. I’ve always enjoyed it. The body does the same things it was doing before. The main characteristic is a sort of muted indifference to the various types of outcomes. Like say I’m in the gym and attempt a personal best in say military press. The guys may be rooting me on and I fail. I then put the weight down, snap my fingers and say, “Dang, almost had it.” Is there a frustration? Yes, but it’s highly muted. It’s largely transcended by the background peace which is far more powerful. I’m not all that concerned that I failed. You asked about concern for the body. Most of the changes I experienced were emotional in nature, not so much in terms of bodily perception. For example, I still feel bodily discomfort as I always have. If I don’t eat, my blood sugar drops and I get headaches. It’s not pleasant at all and so I’m quite mindful of eating regularly. If I don’t, this hunger leads migranes and and I begin to vomit. There may be methods of meditation which can mute physical pain but I do not know them. I feel physical pain, full force. Exercise is nice because I can actively sense the physical well being (good blood circulation, etc). The same applies to being careful in the gym not to injure the body. Before lifting, I stretch and feel everything out before taking on any significant lifts. For similar reasons, my diet has gotten more and more healthy.

            3. The universe keeps doing what it’s been doing. This awareness we’re discussing doesn’t make decisions, it is unchanging. It has no qualities. It is aware of qualities, a flow of time, change, evolution, whatever is being displayed on the screen, but awareness is never changing. There is no individual-personal me and never was. There never was an individual exerting effort. If a promotion is offered, it would likely be accepted, as long as it doesn’t lead to suffering in others. If accepting that promotion would create workplace drama, I would not accept. At my job, I’m indifferent to being promoted. I don’t care either way. My students refer to me as “Jason”, not “Dr” or “Mr”, or any honorifics. I no longer pursue titles, awards, or anything like that, though I never was one to that anyway. If the work is enjoyed for its own sake, it would be done for its own sake, without concern for the promotion (if money is not needed). I’m mindful of money because if one lacks it you become a burden on others, which is something I do not want to do. If one day I become sick and need others to care for me, I will be ok with that, but I’m healthy now and there’s no reason I shouldn’t carry my own weight, so to speak. Things that are pleasurable are still done, but if these things are taken away it isn’t a big deal. I still feel a large sense of responsibility to others. Students pay a great deal to attend the university and I take teaching the students properly very seriously. I’m not indifferent to doing a good job. I do good work for its own sake. To help others is to help myself, and vice versa. Jesus’ maxim to do unto others as you would have done to you resonates very strongly with me, so much so that it’s taken even further and others are seen as myself, a greater Self which we all are. Also, if the work alleviates the suffering of others, work will also be done that would not otherwise be considered. This happens when my students ask me for special help, request a review session, etc. The same applies if family members need help with something, such as moving furniture, etc., or I’ll sit with people in a nursing home just to keep them company.

            You may now think, wait a minute, how can you desire things, yet be this unchanging awareness, all at the same time? As I speak with you, I’m changing perspectives. Ultimately I know that “Jason” is a sort of costume that awareness is “wearing” at the moment. At the deepest level, this is all simply being watched within consciousness, a consciousness which is is capable of perceiving other viewpoints, other emotional states, even entirely different ways of being that totally foreign to “Jason”. The true “I am” is simply witnessing Jason type out this response out to you, unchanging, watching “Jason” on the divine screen. Jason has certain values, things that are important to him, etc. But, here’s the thing. As Jason’s mind came in harmony and realization with this deeper “I am” awareness, “Jason” also changed in important ways, which we’ve been discussing. Just by becoming aware of this deeper truth, there were changes in Jason’s character. All of the sudden Jason’s priorities changed, what was important to him changed, etc. This was all witnessed from the deeper awareness level. Jason is a character which is simply witnessed, so “he” didn’t make these changes. A costume cannot do that. So who made the changes? I did, I suppose. But not Jason. The real ‘I am’ did. Existence changed when it became aware of itself at a deeper level. I hope I’m making sense.

            4. There is no personal “you” driving this evolution. You, along with the universe, happen. Let me ask you about this personal self, which you feel is necessary for the universe to evolve. So when you choose to lift your arm, within your awareness, was there some conscious state which perceived all possible arm motions, chose on possibility from among them, and then controlled every detail, thus dictating the actions of every subatomic particle? And this “you” is controlling your arms and some bodily functions, but not your bedroom walls, or the electricity in the walls, or the light rays refracted in the skies? The skies, the walls, the wires filled with electricity, they are not you, so they’re controlled by some impartial process. But your arms, which are made of the same stuff, operating according to the same physics, “you” are controlling those? Why are the boundaries of the body’s skin such a special domain? I control this and that, but not the rest of this. Mental things are no different. When you talk, was a giant dictionary set in front of you in some conscious space, did you carefully choose each syllable, and string the words together and control your vocal chords throughout the entire process? When you think, was some giant database of all possible thoughts presented to you, and then you chose this thought process as opposed to that? This personal you somehow does this? How exactly is thought making decisions?

            The thoughts arise spontaneously with the actions, and certain thoughts have a character of “I”, taking a fictitious ownership of actions. Thought is no different than the rest of the world. It’s a changing thing which is witnessed, a certain type of happening that comes and goes, ruled by whatever sets the rest of it all in motion. The world goes on and takes care of itself. If awareness was witnessing a different type of life-form, there may not be thoughts at all, or they may be of a totally different character and type. The thoughts we’re familiar with come bundled with the human experience, and they’re not fundamentally different than the rest of what we’re currently aware of.

            I wouldn’t say this is any sort of pinnacle of anything. There are no pinnacles from this state. There’s nowhere you need to be, no way life has to be. Those sorts of thoughts arise from value judgments. One can self identify with a value system, but those are objects perceived from this unchanging awareness.

            Maharshi was the way he was, but he didn’t advocate for people to live like he lived, nor does his teachings require it.

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