We are told that we are a “person”—that we are a separate individual or a separate entity, and naturally believe it from then on. When you are a little child (before the reasoning starts) it is not “I do this or that,” it is “Johnny does this or Johnny wants that”—or whatever the name may be. Johnny does not initially see himself as a separate entity, only after awhile it becomes “I.”
The thinking process seemingly forms the individual. With the registration of everything, everything is just as it is. All the thinking, the seeing, the hearing, the smelling, tasting, and touch sensations are registered in the immediacy of this moment. But then as soon as the thought “I see” or “I hear” or “I think” comes up, who does it refer to? That “I” in its purity cannot refer to anything, so added to it is the thinking process and the image you have from conditioning and from memory. That image is what you believe yourself to be. As soon as you say “I am John or Bob” or whatever your name is, there immediately comes in the associated conditioning “I am good” or “I am bad” or “I am special” or whatever the conditioning is.
“I am happy” or “I am unhappy” or “I am a doctor” or “I am only a laborer and I’ll never get anywhere in life”—whatever your belief or whatever the conditioning is that has happened in your life. Now, the “I”-thought is the separating factor. The way the mind functions is only in the pairs of opposites. So as soon as the “I” comes up there has to arise a “you” or the “other”—other than “I.”
The very idea of that “I”-thought immediately implies separation, it implies isolation. That is vulnerability; that is fear.
By investigation, try to find out in the first place, who is this “I,” who is this “me”? Is it what I think I am? Is it what I believe myself to be?
What is that “I” thought? Stay with it—to the mind it is “no thing.” It is not the nature of the mind to stay with “no thing.” The mind has to have some image or some appearance or thing to keep it going. To stay with that “no thing” for an instant, the idea of fear arises, a fear that I am going to lose my reason, I am going to lose my identity. It is seemingly hard to stay with “no thing” because the nature of the mind is to think; it is a movement of energy. It is moving back and forth constantly.
To stay with “no thing” means no energy is going into the thinking and thinking cannot happen without the energy.
“Who” is it that needs to stick to the question of “Who am I?”
The only instrument that Pure Intelligence has got is this thinking mind. Intelligence functioning through the mind is nothing but that Pure Intelligence vibrating into a pattern which we call thought. We attribute these thoughts to a “me” or a separate entity. They are nothing other than this Pure Intelligence Energy. Investigate and see that it is so.
If someone were to come to me and say that “I am seeking truth or reality,” I would say that you are seeking what you already are! So it is foolish to carry on the search. The only place the search started from is in the mind. It can’t start anywhere else and it can’t continue anywhere else than in the mind. When I realize or when it is pointed out that it is foolish to carry on the search in the mind, what must happen? If I say to you, “Full stop—the search is over,” what you do? Wouldn’t there be a pause? In that pause, wouldn’t there be a realization that I have not disappeared, that I have not fallen apart nor disintegrated, that I am still here without that thinking mind? Then, there must be a glimpse of understanding that everything that we seemingly believe relies on the mind. Without the mind the functioning is still happening—you’re still breathing, hearing, seeing, thinking, tasting, touching, and smelling.
Livingness is still happening without the mind seemingly running the show, which it has done for years. Once that glimpse is there—that there is functioning happening, it is seen as a place of stillness. This is the aim of meditators: to quiet the mind to that place of stillness. I say that is the wrong way because you have to use the mind to quiet the mind, and all there is is conflict in the mind. This is one thought fighting against another thought. It is just like your coming up here to look for your watch when you know that you left it in the kitchen. It is foolish to look up here. In the twenty or thirty years that you have been seeking and looking for the answer in the mind, you have never found it.
However, you are not an idiot because you have solved a lot of other problems through the mind. But you have not found the answer to life in the mind. Surely, there must come a time when you realize that it is futile to look in the mind. Especially when the traditions tell you that the answer is not there.
Come back to the only reality that you are absolutely certain of—the fact of your own Being. Everything else is a mental concept. But you cannot negate your beingness.
Stay with that beingness or the thought “I am,” which is the nearest thing you can get to the beingness of the mind. That is the primary thought. Stay with that, come back to that.
Whenever the mind moves away to “I am this” or “I am that,” bring it back to just “I am.” Also, have an affectionate awareness of just being “I am”—be warm towards that “I amness.”
Love that “I amness”—that is the first point where the mind comes into it. You will realize after awhile that you do not have to say “I am” to know that you are. You have known this all the time: you don’t go around saying “I am, I am” repeatedly. You are still functioning; the livingness is still going on, other thoughts are coming in, other activities are taking place, but it all comes back to the sense of presence that expresses through the mind as the thought “I am.” That is the only reality that you cannot negate.
There is a passage in the Bible that says: “Acknowledge Him in all thy ways and He will direct thy path.” Now most of us interpret that as somebody out there but it means to acknowledge that essence, that intelligence which you are. In acknowledging that, the direction comes through.
Have a closer look at “I am.” It is not “I was” nor is it “I will be.” It is expressing that presence. It is pure presence. “I am” presence!—not the past—not the future. The actuality is always Now. You do not have to use the term “I am.”
You see, that primary thought “I am” is too subtle for the mind to grasp, so it adds to it: “I am this,” “I am that,” “I am the fear,” “I am the anger,” “I am the anxiety,” “I am the depression,” or whatever. Just see these thoughts as the expression of that presence. Then what must you be—you must be that presence. That is all that there is. It is Omnipresence. These words are presence—that is how they are appearing—they are appearing presently. As you read these words, they are appearing presently. This chair that I am sitting in is presence. You are presence. Everything is presence. It is all That.
We take the appearance as real rather than seeing its essence, which is presence.
If it is omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, when and who has ever been separate from it? When? Who? And how could there be any separation from it? If that idea of separation is seen for what it is—an erroneous belief, a phantom—then what?
From What’s Wrong With Right Now Unless You Think About It? by “Sailor” Bob Adamson. Copyright © 2001 by Gilbert Schultz. Reprinted by arrangement with Zen Publications, Mumbai, India.