A simple exploration for finding trust in the wisdom of our human self

Byron Katie has a simple exercise: When you wake up in the morning, don’t get up. Wait and see what happens, and find some curiosity about it. (Paraphrased.)

When I do this, I find that my human self gets out of bed on its own, and at the right time. It has an innate wisdom that makes it get up when the time is ripe. It happens without any conscious planning or effort or use of will. And it’s often surprising. One moment I was in bed, the next standing on the floor, and there was no planning or effort or will involved.

This helps me see that my human self lives its own life and that it has innate wisdom and kindness.

And I can do this in other areas of life as well. I can wait, notice with curiosity, and see what my human self does on its own.

When I get out of my own way, my human self is more free to live from wisdom and heart.

There is, as usual, a lot more to say about this.

For instance, our human self is always living its own life. It’s just that our mind adds a layer of identification so we think and feel that “I” did it. When we find what we more fundamentally are, it’s more obvious that our human self is living its own life. Words happen. Actions happen. And there is no involvement of an “I”.

The only difference is that the strange loop that creates a sense of “I” or “doer” goes away, or at least is not invested with a sense of reality. The charge goes out of it.

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Some side-effects of the awakening: poor memory, dreamlike quality, etc.

The awakening process tends to have several side effects. Some of these happen during certain phases of the process. Not all are experienced in all cases. And some seem more or less unavoidable and inherent in the awakening itself. 

I’ll mention a few here that I am familiar with from my own experience and that seem relatively common based on what I hear from others.


It’s quite common to experience poor memory at some point in the awakening process. Our memories used to feel solid and real, and now they feel ephemeral and difficult to grasp.

We may also have a more general sense of cognitive dysfunction. It seems that our mind doesn’t work very well, and may be surprised when we actually are able to function and do what we need to do. It’s as if the abilities miraculously come online when they are needed.


The world may have a dreamlike quality to us. It’s as if we can put our hand through it. It feels ephemeral.

The world and this human self – and any content of experience – feel like a dream to us.

This can feel disconcerting, although here too, we may find that we can still function fine in daily life.


Another common side effect is that this human self lives its own life.

Anything connected with this human self – thoughts, feelings, words, actions – happen on their own. 

It’s always this way. And noticing it is now more unavoidable.


All of this can be disconcerting to our mind at first.

And all of it is normal and we get used to it.

We may develop strategies for remembering certain things. (I write anything down that I may need to remember in the future.)

We trust that we will function OK in the world even if it appears like a dream to us.

And we also develop a trust in this human self being able to take care of itself, even if it is living its own life and anything connected with it is happening on its own.


There is a reason why we may have these experiences, and it’s inherent in the awakening dynamic itself. 

Poor memory

In an unawake state, we tend to hold many of our thoughts – mental images and words – as inherently true. That gives them a charge for us, and it makes them seem real and substantial. This also applies to the mental representations we call memories, and the charge and sense of solidity make it easier to bring them up. It’s easier for us to remember things because these memories mean something to us.  

In an awakening, we tend to recognize all mental representations as just that. They are representations aimed at helping us orient and function in the world. They may be more or less accurate in an ordinary sense, and they are unable to hold any full, final, or absolute truth. For this reason, they tend to lose charge for us and they generally seem less substantial and solid. And that can make it more difficult for our mind to bring up memories. They don’t have as much charge for us, they are more ephemeral and less solid, and we recognize them as a mental creation happening here and now. 

Dreamlike quality

The world takes on a dreamlike quality because it always is like a dream to us. Dreams also happen within and as consciousness. And the world to us – this human self, the wider world, any content of experience – happens within and as consciousness. To us, it all happens within and as what we are, which a thought may imperfectly call consciousness, and it’s always that way. It’s just that we didn’t notice and now we do. 

Lives its own life

This human self appears to live its own life because that’s how it always is. Its thoughts, feelings, words, and actions are always happening on its own. All of it is living its own life. It’s just that in an unawake state, we added a sense of an “I” or “me” doing it (a human self, an observer, a doer, etc.), and now we recognize that as a mental add-on. 


As mentioned earlier, there are many possible and typical side-effects of awakening. One is that thoughts quiet down. They appear when needed, and otherwise, it’s mostly quiet. There is just perception and a general absence of noticeable thought. And it’s not always this way. For instance, Byron Katie, rapports a great flow of thoughts, and that’s perhaps why she was moved to formalize her approach to inquiry. (The Work of Byron Katie.)

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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.

Body moving on its own

I was in bed this morning listening to the radio when the body started moving on its own, and continued for maybe five or ten minutes. Limbs moved around rapidly, muscles contracted, sounds (grunts) came out, the body doing things on its own. There was a pure witnessing of it all, pure awareness.

After some minutes, there was an awareness others in the room possibly hearing the sounds made by this body, and at first the faint stirrings of a concern, which then came more into the foreground and ended the spontaneous movements and the sense of being absorbed into the witness.  

What happened here seems similar to what I heard from other deeksha receivers… the body moving on its own, while the sense of “I” is absorbed into and as pure awareness.