Exploring what I am

 

There are many ways to explore what I really am, such as headless experiments, the Big Mind process and exploring the sense fields.

For instance, when I explore the sense fields, I can…

  • Bring attention to each sense field (sensation, sound, sight, smell, taste, mental field), one at a time, and ask myself:
    • Is what is happening – here now – within this field, content of awareness? Content of experience? (And maybe notice that That it is all content of awareness. Content of experience.)
      • Does it stay? Is it ephemeral? Even if it looks stable, is it really stable? (Notice that it all comes and goes, on its own time, living its own life.)
      • If it is content of awareness, is it I? If it comes and goes, it is I? (An invitation to notice that since there is a seeing of this content of awareness, there is no real “I” there. And although content of awareness comes and goes, something does not come and go.)
      • What is this sensation/sound/sight/smell/taste/mental field activity made of? Is it awareness itself? (Maybe notice that it is all awareness itself, taking the form of sensation, sound, sight, smell, taste and mental field activity.)
      • I can find what I tend to identify with most readily.)
        • Maybe certain sensations, the head area (sensation/image gestalt), thoughts, a sense of being center, a sense of being on the inside of an I-Other boundary.
        • And then ask myself:
          • Is this too coming and going? Is it different from other content of the sense fields in this way?
          • Happening as content of awareness?
          • Is this content different from the content I don’t identify with- like the sound of a passing car?
          • What am I if this content was not around? What am I right now, if this human self is not here?

      Trigger: My wife told me about her retreat, and how she at one point inquired into who she would be if the different parts of the body were not there… until she found herself as nothing at all, yet still here as that which it all happens within. This is an example of how basic – yet powerful – practices tend to emerge naturally when we explore these things. In this case a relatively common practice in different traditions (such as the dismemberment visualization in Tibetan Buddhism), but not one she couldn’t remember having heard about.

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