Identity goes out of content, and a sense of doer goes out with it

When we are identified with the content of awareness, there is also inevitably a sense of a doer. And when the identification goes of of the content (and back into the ground of awake void) there is still doing, but any sense of a doer goes out along with it.

A region of content filtered as a separate self, and appearing as a doer

When there is identification with content of awareness, I take myself to be a region of the content of awareness, and other regions as other. I am these thoughts, sensations, sights of this body, sounds of this voice, and an idea of a separate self placed on all of these. I think. I feel. I choose. I decide. I act. I do.

There is not only the doing, but also a doer.

Not filtered through a sense of a separate self, so no doer

When identification goes out of the content of awareness, and back into the awake void (and all content arising as the awake void itself), the sense of a separate self goes out as well. And when a sense of a separate self goes out, any sense of a doer goes out with it.

There is just the doing, with no doer. It is all just happening. A dance of form on the surface of awake emptiness. A mystery, happening within, to and as the awake void.

Cause and effect

Filtered slightly through thoughts, we see that any change in the world of form has infinite causes and infinite effects.

When there is a sense of a separate self, and an identification with a region of the content of awareness, there tends to be an identification with the very local causes and effects, those happening within this individual, the region of content taken as I. I think, choose, react, and then I do.

When identification goes out of content, and the sense of a separate self goes out with it, it is easier to see how any change, including any of the local ones, have infinite causes and infinite effects. Any shifts within this individual have infinite causes and effects, they are the local expressions of the movements of the whole of the world of form. There is thinking, choosing, reacting, and doing, and even causalities within this, but no doer, no separate self doing any of it.

Just Happens

During our walk Sunday, I shifted my shoulder bag over from one shoulder to another. I noticed how I initially tried to image and figure out how to do it, and then how it just seemed to happen on its own – in a different way than I expected, and much simpler.

This is just one of many examples of how things just seem to happen on their own. For every thing I look into, I see that it seems to just happen on its own. It is just happening.

There is a thought, coming out of the blue and then vanishing again. There is an intention, coming out of the blue and vanishing. There is a focus of attention, shifting around. There are movements. And it is all just happening.

Just happening

There are many ways to look at this.

One is that every instance has infinite causes, tied to the universe and existence as a whole. It is not possible to narrow it down to some factors and exclude other.

Another is that it is all happening within and as the ground. It is all emerging out of and as the ground, right where it is at. Its source is right there. The ground is a fountain from and as which the whole world of phenomena is arising right now, always new, fresh, different.

A more conventional way to look at it, which also is included in the situation, is that my conscious mind does not really understand how anything works. I may have an intellectual understanding how what happens in the brain when there are thoughts, intention, or a focus of attention, but that does not really explain what is really going in. It is an overlay of abstractions on top of something that is really utterly mysterious and unknown to me.

Even the seemingly most ordinary and daily activity is utterly mysterious. It has infinite causes, tied to the whole of the universe and existence. It goes on at a level where any layer of abstractions cannot touch it. It arises from and as the ground.

It just happens, seemingly in its own. When I look, I cannot find any “I” inherent in it, or inherent in anything else that “causes” it.

Ideas and explorations

Knowing this as an idea may be temporarily interesting, but not have much consequence. It is only another belief at best.

Sincerely exploring it – how this appears in my own immediate experience, is something else. It can slowly unravel our whole vague and unquestioned sense of an “I”, an I a separate and independent “agent” which brings these things about.

Shoulder bag

So in the case of the shifting of the shoulder bag, I find…

  • Awareness of sensations in the shoulder, the labels “pain” and “discomfort” placed on it, and the idea of this having to do with carrying the bag on one shoulder for a while.
  • An intention arising of shifting the bag over to the other shoulder.
  • Images arising of how this may look.
  • Movements happen in my arms and upper body, resulting in the bag shifting over to the other shoulder.
  • Surprise arising, of how it actually happened in a different way than the initial image of it.
  • Thoughts following the surprise, noting how my initial image was different than what happened.
  • Words spoken to Jen about noticing this.
  • A focus of attention shifting throughout this process, from sensations, labels, analysis, image of shifting the bag, the movements of the upper body, the surprise, the thoughts coming up from the surprise, the talking of it to Jen.
  • Awareness within which this all unfolds.

Is there an “I” anywhere in this? I cannot really find it. Even now, as I look for an I anywhere, I only find a conglomerate of sensations, feelings, mild emotions, thoughts, focus of attention, and awareness, each one apparently empty of any “I”. The seeing of it may be what appears the most as an “I”, but I cannot find an indisputable I even there. There is seeing, for sure, but is there a seer?


I also see that there is a wanting to not find an I anywhere, and this prevents me from engaging sincerely in the inquiry. I am looking for “no I”, so any hint in that direction is taken as evidence and an opportunity to say “good enough – there is no I here”. There is not the freedom to sincerly explore what is true in my immediate experience, whatever it may be – different from expectations and memories.

The times that realization has “popped” it has been great – freeing, liberating, blissful. And there is also the implicit “should” in many of the spiritual traditions: there is no I anywhere, so having a sense that there is comes from delusion. Of course, the should comes from myself.

I shouldn’t have a sense of an I.

  1. Yes (I can find that.)
  2. No (Cannot know for sure. Also, cannot know what is best for my path.)
  3. Restlessness. Notice a sense of I, the belief that I shouldn’t have it, and the discrepancy between the two. This gives rise to restlessness, discomfort, wanting to get away from the situation, distracting myself away from it. Vague sense of shame and guilt, of not being good enough, not clear enough. Wanting to jump to any evidence of no I, and be done with it – not having to explore and investigate it further. General restlessness and wanting to get away, bring focus to something else. Confusion. Latching on to memories of times of clearer seeing and abstractions around the topic. Go to abstractions rather than what is really true in immediate experience. Sense of seaparation from what is, including what is real for me in the present.
  4. Free to explore what is true for me, in my immediate experience – independent on whether it conforms to expectations of what to find or not. Able to inquire in a more sincere way. Able to enjoy the inquiry process more, independent of the specific findings. Sense of intimacy with what is.
  5. (a) I should have a sense of I.

    Yes, if there is a sense of I there, there should. It is what it is. Also, having a sense of I – and exploring its consequences – allows me more real empathy with myself and others.

    (b) My thoughts shouldn’t have a sense of I.

    (c) My thoughts should have a sense if I.

Just Happening

When what is realizes itself with no “I” anywhere, there is an experience of everything just happening. There is no doer, only the doing. It is all the will of God, movements within God.

And as long there is an identity as a segment of what is, then there is struggle and suffering. There is a belief in the thought “I” and it is placed on something within what is, such as this human self or pure awareness, and this creates the whole sense of drama and suffering.

And that too is the will of God. That too is God manifesting and exploring itself perfectly, completely.

At the same time, before this realization dawns clearly (which is also the will of God), we tend to act as if there is free individual will. And this just adds to the richness of it all, it is another way God manifests.

No Doer, Only Doing

(Slightly rambling (!) as so many of these posts…)

It seems so simple. There is no doer, only doing. That is all.

The content is not neccesarily any different, just the realization that there is no doer. It is all just happening.

This is the awakening of what is to its own nature. To having no “I” as a segment of what is. No “I” in the human self, no “I” in pure awareness, no “I” anywhere else.

And from the view of the largest whole, that which is beyond and includes all polarities, this is how it has to be. It all happens on its own, the whole fluid seamless form of phenomena is moving and shifting as an ocean. It all just happens. It is the movements of God.

It is God as emptiness, as awareness and as the fluid seamless whole of phenomena.

How could there be an absolute “I” within or as any of this, unless it is the whole of what is?

There is no “I” anywhere. And the whole of all of it – God, Spirit, Buddha Mind – is the only “I” there is.

There is only the doing, no individual doer. And that is the case for all there is.

And in this awakening, there is also the awakening to the ground of all there is. That which all phenomena arises within and as.

The ground is emptiness, and the forms are emptiness dancing.

Nothing is left out. Nothing is excluded.

It is just what is, as it is – with no doer, only the doing.