Who Am I Without Thought? – September 22 2018

The state we call realization is simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realized, he is that which alone is, and which alone has always been. He cannot describe that state. He can only be That. Of course, we loosely talk of Self-realization for want of a better term.
 
That which is, is peace. All that we need do is to keep quiet. Peace is our real nature. We spoil it. What is required is that we cease to spoil it.
Sri Ramana Maharshi
 
As we meditate, we begin to notice more and more the thinking that seems never to end; and we notice there is another place from which we are able to observe those thoughts. This other place is is sometimes called ‘the witness.’ In truth, it is the place of pure Being, that part of us which never changes, and that underlies all that we are and all that nature is. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi often uses the metaphor of the colorless sap from which the whole of the rose is made. Though the petals may be white, they have been formed from the colorless sap; and though the leaves and stems are green, they, too have been formed from the colorless sap. The thorns, the pistils and stamens, the whole of the flower is in fact an expression of colorless sap. This truth is not changed by the apparent differences. Like this, the place of pure Being underlies all that we are, all that the world is. This is the place within each of us that is beyond change. The word for ‘that which never changes’ is Truth. This place of Being, then, is the truth of who and what we are.
 
In meditation we transcend thought, go beyond the level from which thoughts arise, and experience this place of Truth within. Having this experience, day after day, twice each day, we begin to know ourselves as this place that is other than our thoughts. From this perspective we may begin to enquire about our process outside of meditation. As we go through our day, when we have a thought that is disturbing in some way, we might ask who is having this thought? Where does it come from? What does this part of my self hope to accomplish with this thought? If we are having an argument within, we might ask who is arguing against whom? And who is watching this argument take place? We might ask of ourselves while in the midst of our busy day with the busyness of life happening around us, is there a place of peace within? Where is it? Where is the truth of our Being? Where is the place from which we may watch our reaction to things, rather than being identified as that reaction?
 
With these sorts of questions, we move in the direction of realization. It is not enough simply to lay ourselves in the arms of nature and allow healing to take place. Yes, that does happen each time we meditate; but meditation is twenty minutes, twice a day. During the other 23 and a third hours each day, at least occasionally, we want to step forward in partnership with nature, engaging our mind with the spirit of inquiry and finding the way to live in the question. By living in the question we make ourselves open to being shown the answer that resides here in the depth, in the truth, of what we are. We become able to know ourselves.
 
Today I will observe my thinking, for at least a moment here and there, and ask, is this me thinking, or is this me observing my thinking? Who am I without these thoughts?
Times Square, New York, New York
All original material copyright © 2018 Jeff Kober

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