The Sense of ‘I am’
It is a matter of daily experience that on waking up the world
suddenly appears. Where
it come from?
Before anything can come into being there must be somebody to whom it
and disappearance presupposes a change against some changeless
Before waking up I was unconscious.
In what sense? Having forgotten, or not having experienced? Don’t you
experience even when
Can you exist without knowing? A lapse in memory: is it a proof of
can you validly talk about your own non-existence as an actual
experience? You cannot even
that your mind did not exist. Did you not wake up on being called? And
on waking up, was it not
sense ‘I am’ that came first? Some seed consciousness must be existing
even during sleep, or
On waking up the experience runs: ‘I am -- the body -- in the world.’
It may appear to arise
succession but in fact it is all simultaneous, a single idea of having
a body in a world. Can there
the sense of ‘I am’ without being somebody or other?
I am always somebody with its memories and habits. I know no other ‘I
Maybe something prevents you from knowing? When you do not know
something which others
what do you do?
I seek the source of their knowledge under their instruction.
Is it not important to you to know whether you are a mere body, or
something else? Or, maybe
at all? Don’t you see that all your problems are your body’s problems
-- food, clothing,
family, friends, name, fame, security, survival -- all these lose
their meaning the moment
realise that you may not be a mere body.
What benefit is there in knowing that I am not the body?
Even to say that you are not the body is not quite true. In a way you
are all the bodies, hearts
minds and much more. Go deep into the sense of ‘I am’ and you will
find. How do you find a
you have mislaid or forgotten? You keep it in your mind until you
recall it. The sense of being,
'I am' is the first to emerge. Ask yourself whence it comes, or just
watch it quietly. When the mind
in the 'I am' without moving, you enter a state which cannot be
verbalised but can be
All you need to do is try and try again. After all the sense ‘I am’ is
always with you,
you have attached all kinds of things to it -- body, feelings,
thoughts, ideas, possessions etc. All
self-identifications are misleading. Because of them you take yourself
to be what you are not.
Then what am I?
It is enough to know what you are not. You need not know what you are.
For as long as
means description in terms of what is already known, perceptual, or
be no such thing as self-knowledge, for what you are cannot be
described, except as
negation. All you can say is: ‘I am not this, I am not that’. You
cannot meaningfully say ‘this is
I am’. It just makes no sense. What you can point out as 'this' or
'that' cannot be yourself.
you can not be 'something' else. You are nothing perceivable, or
imaginable. Yet, without
there can be neither perception nor imagination. You observe the heart
feeling, the mind
the body acting; the very act of perceiving shows that you are not
what you perceive. Can
be perception, experience without you? An experience must ‘belong'.
Somebody must come
declare it as his own. Without an experiencer the experience is not
real. It is the experiencer
imparts reality to experience. An experience which you cannot have, of
what value is it to you?
The sense of being an experiencer, the sense of ‘I am’, is it not also
Obviously, every thing experienced is an experience. And in every
experience there arises the
of it. Memory creates the illusion of continuity. In reality each
experience has its own
and the sense of identity is due to the common factor at the root of
relations. Identity and continuity are not the same. Just as each
flower has its own
but all colours are caused by the same light, so do many experiences
appear in the
and indivisible awareness, each separate in memory, identical in
essence. This essence
the root, the foundation, the timeless and spaceless 'possibility' of
How do I get at it?
You need not get at it, for you are it. It will get at you, if you
give it a chance. Let go your
to the unreal and the real will swiftly and smoothly step into its
own. Stop imagining
being or doing this or that and the realisation that you are the
source and heart of all will
upon you. With this will come great love which is not choice or
predilection, nor attachment,
a power which makes all things love-worthy and lovable.