In truth there is no self, watcher, or observer. There is only watching and/or observing. There is awareness but no owner of awareness, no someone who is aware.– Adyashanti, Experiencing No-Self online course
This is something we can explore for ourselves, both at a story level and in our immediate noticing.
AT A STORY LEVEL
If we explore it with sincerity at a story level, what are we to ourselves? Independent of our general worldview, we find that to ourselves, in our own first-person experience, we have to be consciousness. To us, any and all experience happen within and as this consciousness. And our more fundamental nature is consciousness.
This consciousness forms itself into all our experiences, including this human self and a sense of being this human self. It also forms itself into a more essential idea of a self, watcher, and observer, and a sense of being any or all of these.
Mind may tell itself it is a self, watcher, observer, and so on and that works well in daily life. At the same time, it does come with some inherent and inevitable stress, discomfort, and a sense that something is off. And that may invite us to take a closer look and explore it a bit further and with sincerity.
We may discover that, to ourselves, we are consciousness. We are what allows any and all experience – of this human self, the wider world, and anything else. And we are what transforms itself into all of these experiences.
In a sense, there is no real self, watcher, or observer. There is only watching and observing.
Whatever is here, whether it’s a sense of self or a noticing of this sense of self as created by the mind, happens within and as what we are.
Finding this at a story level doesn’t itself bring much if any transformation. Our center of gravity will still be the same, which typically is in a sense of being a separate self. And yet, it can be an excellent start for exploring what we are in our immediate noticing, and this can be profoundly transforming.
IN OUR IMMEDIATE NOTICING
What do we find if we explore this in our immediate noticing?
We may discover something we can put into more or less the same words as above, and yet the immediate noticing is primary and profoundly transforming for our perception and and life in the world. It can be profoundly transforming for our psyche as it invites the different parts of our psyche to align more deeply with this noticing.
We may find our nature is capacity for the world as it appears to us. Our nature is capacity for all our experiences, whatever they are.
We may find we are what all our experiences – of the world, this human self, and anything else – happen within and as. What we are transforms itself into all of these experiences. What we are is what experiences and what’s experienced and that distinction is only created when we put it into words.
There is the appearance of self, watcher, and observer, created by our mental field. And more fundamentally, we are what all our experiences – including the idea of self, watcher, and observer, and of watching and observing – happen within and as.
Adya’s words are pointers. They are for us to explore for ourselves, see what we find, and allow it to work on us and transform us.
They are medicine for a certain condition.
In this case, they show us the next stepping stone from taking ourselves to most fundamentally be a self, watcher, and observer.
From here, we may notice that in our own first-person experience, we more fundamentally are watching and observing.
And from here, we may notice that all of it – self, watcher, observer, watching, observing, and even mind and consciousness – happen within and as what we are. We are capacity for all of it. The appearance of all of it is created by our own mental field. And we are more fundamentally not any of it.
Logic tells us that to ourselves, we have to be consciousness. This consciousness forms itself into all our experiences, including this human self and a sense of being this human self. It also forms itself into a more essential idea of a self, watcher, and observer, and a sense of being any or all of these.
They only appear distinct when we put words on them.