There are some ordinary and essential insights that can lead us to notice what we are.
A FEW ORDINARY INSIGHTS
In some situations, we all recognize some essential things about life and our perception.
Words are created by humans. Someone makes up a new word, and then others start using it as well, and all words are like that.
Our ideas about something is different from what they are about. We may have an idea about someone, and then realize it was wrong.
Things change. We can most easily notice this when we look at change over time. The world is not the same as ten years ago. We are not the same person as ten years ago.
I experience myself differently from how others experience me. They may have ideas about me that don’t fit how I see myself. And they see me as an object in the world, and my immediate experience of myself is different.
If we don’t explore this further, it can seem casually interesting. It may be limited to some situations and areas of life, and it doesn’t mean that much to us.
And if we take these glimmers of insights more seriously and explore them further, it can lead us to notice what we are.
Someone makes up a new word, and it reminds me that all words are created. Someone made each of them up at some point, and others re-created them in slightly different forms. They are not fixed. They are not what they point to.
I have an idea about someone or something and realize it was wrong. This reminds me that my mental images and words are created by my own mind. They are, literally, imaginations and fantasies. They are not inherent in what they appear to be about.
I hear about someone from another culture seeing things differently from me. In Japan, being gay was unremarkable until they encountered western views of homosexuality. This reminds me that our opinions and views are cultural. They are created by humans. They are not inherent in reality.
This can help me notice and investigate any mental representations, recognize them as questions, and hold them more lightly.
Everything is always changing. The world is different from ten years ago. I am different from how I was ten years ago. Earth changes over decades, centuries, and millennia. Even the universe changes over time.
What I experience always changes. I was in the kitchen, and now I am here in front of the computer. The candle is lit and it wasn’t just a few minutes ago. My back feels warm, and it was cold before I put on something warm. Right now, the birds outside are chirping and I didn’t notice earlier.
If this is always changing, what am I? I can hold onto an idea of what I am, which creates a sense of permanence, but it’s a kind of fake permanence. It’s imposed by me and my ideas.
MY FIRST PERSON EXPERIENCE OF MYSELF IS DIFFERENT
The way I experience myself is different from how others see me.
On one level, they have ideas about me I don’t recognize or don’t match how I see myself.
More fundamentally, they see me as an object in the world, and I experience myself very differently.
I experience myself as the one I see in the mirror. As these arms and hands and legs disappearing closer to center into empty space. As mental images and memories of who I am. As the one referred to in my passport and birth certificate. As the one people know by my name.
When I look closer, I see that I experience myself as this field of experience – which contains this body, these ideas about myself, and parts of the room I am in right now.
FINDING WHAT I AM
All of this can lead me to notice what I am.
If I take these seriously, investigate them thoroughly, allow myself to go outside of ideas about what I am, and do all of it with sincerity and honesty, I may notice what I am. I may find my true nature.
I may find myself as capacity for the world, and what my field of experience happens within and as.
When put into words, that too is an idea. That too happens within and as what I am.
So what do I find here and now?Read More