I am not… and yet am

It is common to hear folks say you are not your thoughts or emotions, or anything within experience. (Well, at least common among people interested in those things.)

And this is a good illustration on how teachings are pointers only, or medicine aimed at a specific condition. In this case, it is aimed at the condition of (blindly) identifying with thoughts, emotions, or content of experience in general.

As with any other statement, it is a pointer and a question. As any other teaching, it is medicine aimed at a specific condition, helpful in some situations and not other, and without any inherent truth. And as any other story, there is a grain of truth in its reversals.

I am not thoughts, emotions, or anything within experience.

One reversal is that I am all of those.

When I look for myself, how does that too has a grain of truth to it?

It is true in a conventional way. As this human self, I am these thoughts and emotions. I can take responsibility for them and “own” them. And beyond that, I am – and can own – whatever qualities and dynamics I see in the wider world, because I recognize them from myself. The world is a mirror.

And it is also true as what I am. Whatever happens, happens within and as what I am. It is no thing appearing as something. It is awakeness itself. Or said more poetically, it is the play of God.

It comes and goes, and it is content of experience, yes, and that doesn’t make it any less what I am. It is what I am here now. And it is always changing. Always fresh. New. Different. (When seen through an overlay of time.)

So while saying that I am not thoughts, emotions, content of experience can be helpful when there is a blind identification with those things, saying that I am all of those – in at least two distinct ways – can be helpful when the first has been recognized to some extent.


Initial outline…

  • what I am not
    • content of experience
    • comes and goes
  • yet am that too
    • as human self, am whatever is here
      • mirrors the wider world
    • as what I am and everything is, all happens as this
  • am not… (thoughts, emotions, etc.)
    • teaching as medicine
    • for a specific condition
    • no real truth in it, only meant as a pointer, dislodge a particular identification

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