Where does the sense of an I come from? The mind is responsible for creating the sense of ‘I’. It has the capacity to self-reflect on itself. Which means, that it has the capacity to think about itself, about its own thoughts, the sensations arising in the body, and so on. As it does this, it creates a sense of a continuous flow of an ‘I’, verbing itself on and on. Verbs don’t stop, and by verbing itself on and on, we feel like a continuous thing. Something that goes on and on. A continuous loop of thought (no wonder we need to sleep, to get a break from maintaining a fiction!).
This something is the sense of ‘me’. I am real, because I know that I am, I can think about myself.The rest is something that consciousness created for itself. Because by having the mind be self-reflective, consciousness becomes aware of itself. Otherwise, it just is. A bird does not self-reflect, as far as we know, it just is. It is an amazing thing, really. Being aware of this mechanism can be freeing in itself. Oh, so this is what is happening! I think a thought, which is believed by the mind, and then the mind has something more to say about it. On and on, it goes. I think therefore, I am. That is a start. I am is amming, itself, on and on.
Have you noticed? What is this felt sense of you? What are you really? Questioning the operating system of the mind, and wanting to know the truth of things is a great tool. It is called inquiry. The mind has the capacity to inquire into itself, wondering about what is the true source of the I thought. What is revealed is beyond the ability that the mind has to unravel itself. But the mind can take you to the gate. The gate created by mind itself, by consciousness itself. They are not separate things. It doesn’t need to take you beyond. The beyond will take you beyond. Not you, or rather, the sense of you. The you that you think you are, disappears, beyond the gateless gate. The I disappears back to where it came from, nothingness. It happens all day long, already. We birth ourselves over and over again, every time we reassert ourselves into the moment. Daydreaming, forgetfulness, driving, and spacing out, are all gaps in the dream called me. Doesn’t it feel good to forget oneself? Then the machine starts up once again. What’s funny is that the motor is running, the thought machine motor, within the awareness that you are the whole, and not the content, the thoughts themselves, and that being aware of this, is what awakening is about. Being lost in the content of the mind, ends. And the fear of it as well. The fear ends, the need to assert oneself as a ‘me’ center in every moment ends, when it is clearly seen, that there is no getting lost in anything, ever. In order to get lost, you would need to have a somebody, a personal sense of I, in order to lose.
And since ‘I’, is a construct of the mind, made of imagination, which is doing its job of self-reflection, reasserting itself as a verb into all that it sees, feel, and experiences (like a feedback loop). Without that occurring, and more importantly, without the belief that that means, that there is in fact an independent ‘I’, there’s just this, now.This thought is happening, these feelings are being felt, and these sensations in the body are here and there. Just this. Everything born returns. It is a natural thing. And we don’t lose anything, by remembering that we are the whole, we gain. We gain by being nothing. Quite a koan, that. Not understanding, or knowing how to do this, is no big surprise. How can the mind know how to see beyond itself? It can’t. Letting go, is what ultimately brings you beyond the mind. Surrendering, allowing the heart to be the guide are all ways in.
The mind questioning itself, into its deepest nature, will stymie it. It is a koan for the mind, to ask: Who am I? Koan’s greatest uses bring one to the gate, and then beyond, as they navigate the mind into the unknown with its unanswerable questions. The place where questions trail off, go off the trail of the known, into the unknown, into the wild reaches of beingness itself. It is your home, what you already are, your true nature, and nothing, truly nothing, to be afraid of! Remember the freedom of being a child, of flowing from one moment to another? I bet you can remember. It is there, and it is still here, now. How could it not be, when it is what is happening, even though you may have forgotten it? It is silently there in the background, over which all these thoughts are allowing. Isn’t this what you long for, to be here, with the moment as it is, without wanting for it to be different than what it is? Without asserting yourself into it, over and over? This level of freedom is available to you, right here, and right now. Where else would it be? If it is in the future, then it isn’t truth. Truth is eternal, present, right here and right now, and it is what you are. End of story.
Throw out the story of you, and see what lies behind the veil of your belief that you aren’t it. The only thing that you have got to lose, is your unhappiness. Instead of fleeting moments of fulfillment, when you get what you want, before dissatisfaction once again arises, you will know yourself as the whole, as a part of the whole, as you, as not you, as born, as never born, as free, and as bound. You will know yourself as the whole, within its parts, without getting lost in content, ever again. And if you seemingly get lost, it isn’t a big deal. That which is ever free is free regardless. You are free as you are, right now. You can’t make yourself more free. It is a backwards step into beingness, not adding anything more to the ‘you’. You can’t ‘get’ this, because you are it. It is your true nature. And the closest description that one could use, would be: it is love, itself. Love appears in so many different forms and ways. Have you noticed? Enjoy the ride, your birthright is to remember your boundless nature. And when realized, there is such appreciation for all manifestation, including the forgetting. Don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.