I keep coming back to this. It is one of the many areas where we can to find simple and ordinary ways to describe what many eastern (and other) traditions talk about, often in a language that – to us – is far more mystical, confusing and exotic sounding.
In my immediate experience – without changing anything – there is the sound of the fingers on the keyboard, the hum of the computer, the taste and smell of a stew, a sensation of slight cold on the hands, pressure under the butt and one foot, trees outside the window, a clear blue sky, a car coming up the street, an indeterminate sensation in the head area, some thoughts coming and going, and all this arising in stainless space & awareness.
And none of this has any inherent “I” in it. There is nothing here that signals an “I”. It is all just happening – the world of form arising within vast space & awareness.
I see that the creation of an “I” as this human self comes from believing in an added layer of abstractions. And I see that the same is true for “I” as this space & awareness.
I also see how much effort it takes to separate out a part of this vast field and make that appear as an “I”. And when there is this appearance of “I” and “other”, how much effort and energy goes into dealing with the drama that is created from it.
And this is right here, in my immediate experience and – I assume – in the immediate experience of each of us. It is just that we are trained and habituated in adding a shrinked and fixed identity to this field, separating out this particular human self – or this formless awareness – as an “I”. And we are equally trained and familiar with living based on this perception of I and other.
Of course, this is in a way the “ultimate” view. The other side is that for this particular field, there is a special relationship with this particular human self. There is a functional relationship where the human self is a vehicle in the world of phenomena, receiving input from and acting in the world.
So in this sense, there is a “me” as a human self, acting in the world. And others definitely see one there.
And in another sense, there is even an “I” as this particular field. This “I” is completely fluid, always new, fresh and different. It is beyond and including all polarities, including those of existence and nonexistence, matter and spirit, subject and object, awakened and deluded, and so on. And it is really just living its own life, it is all just happening in the present. Even if there is a sense of action through/as this human self, as a vehicle, then all the rest – and even much of what is happening for/with this human self – is just happening on its own. It is not really an “agent” in a conventional sense.
So this is definitely a different form of “I”, one that is completely fluid, not an “agent” in the typical use of the word, and beyond and embracing all polarities.