In both cases, there is no I inherently there. In both cases, it serves as a vehicle in the world of form. In both cases, it provides sensory input for awareness, for pure witness consciousness.
Imagine a NASA scientist or engineer who identifies completely with one of the Mars rovers. He or she would experience and talk about the rover as “I”, experience mortal fear whenever it is in a dangerous situation, completely dreading the day it dies, and so on. This would at best be seen as weird and an eccentricity, and at worst as insanity.
Now imagine the same for our human self. If there is an exclusive identification with our human self, there is the same experience of it as “I”, the same fear whenever it is in danger, the same dread of its death.
So what is the difference?
The Mars rovers are an extension of our own bodies and senses, and they are mechanical and far away, so it is relatively easy – even for the most involved scientist, to maintain the “I” at his or her human self, and see the rover as either “it” (third person) or “ours” or “mine” (second of first person possessive).
Our human self is different. It is the primary and immediate vehicle in the world of form, so it is far more understandable if it is seen as an “I”. But this too is a mistaken identity.
If we explore it a little further, we see that there is only the seamless field of seeing and seen, and no I to be found anywhere in it. This sense of I, placed on our human self, comes from a belief that there has to be a separate individual I somewhere, and since the most likely candidate is our human self we place it there.
Waking up from this happens spontaneously, either out of the blue or following some diligent explorations of all of this. Is there really an I here? Where is it? Is it in the seen, in the stream of forms and experiences, always new, fresh, different? Is it in the seeing? Where can I find the boundary between the seeing and the seen? If the I is in the seeing itself, in the pure witness consciousness, where is the boundary between I as the seeing and Other as the seen?
And when we pass through this gateless gate, we see that there never was an I anywhere. It was all innocent, a temporary mistaken identity. There wasn’t even a gate to pass through, it only seemed that way as long as there was a sense of I there. And although it is understandable when there is an identification with this human self, it it still about as weird as being identified with a rover sitting on a little hill on Mars.
Now, the human self is a me and mine, for practical and conventional reasons, as an aid in navigating in the world and for communication, but clearly absent of any I anywhere. The drama goes out of it. There is just the Ground and field of seeing and seen, awakening to its own nature of no I anywhere, yet still functionally and temporarily connected with this particular human self, as a me or mine.
This human self arises as anything else – thoughts, emotions, feelings, choices, behaviors, personality, clouds, trees, people, situations. It all happens on its own. There is doing but no doer (apart from the doer as the whole of the world of form.)