Finding what seems most as an I or me

Since my teens, my most common practice has been to find what seems the most as an I or me. I scan my field of experience, find something where there is a bit of identification, and see what it is.

Early on, I mostly noticed it as something within the content of my experience. Something that comes and goes. Something that’s not what I more fundamentally am. Something happening within and as what I am.

This practice came naturally and almost inevitably (?) out of the initial awakening shift when I was sixteen, and some years before I had knowledge of more traditional practices or what teachers or traditions said about this.

Later on, as I learned more structured forms of inquiry, I also started examining how these identifications appear in my sense fields. I notice the mental images that are part of my experience of it. I notice the sensations the mind associates with these images. And I see that these are mental images and sensations. I see they come and go within the content of experience. I see they happen within and as what I am.

These identities with some identification attached to them are all essentially the same. They are created by the mind associating certain mental images and words with certain sensations. They happen within the content of experience. They come and go as any other content of experience. At most, they have a limited practical function in helping me orient and function in the world. They are not what I more fundamentally am. They happen within and as what I am.

And they take a wide range of forms. They may appear as an I or me. As a human. A man. A therapist. A victim. A victimizer. Someone who is smart or stupid. Someone who did something right or wrong. A doer. An observer. Something observed. Big Mind. Consciousness. Awareness. Awakeness. Oneness. Love. Capacity. And so on. It takes the form of anything the mind takes itself to be, whether explicitly and consciously or more as an underlying assumption.

This is a very simple exploration. It can be done here and now. And it goes to the essence of what this is about.

In my late teens and early twenties, I got into Daoism, Buddhism, and Christian mysticism. And I did set aside this simple practice to the benefit of the ones that were presented to me as more important, even if these practices seemed more peripheral and less to the point. And after a while, I returned to the simplicity of this one.

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Exploring subject and object

It is easy to assume that an object is an object and the subject is really and only a subject.

But what do I find when I explore what initially appears as object and subject? Experienced and experiencer? Observed and observer? For instance, how do each one appear through the sense fields?

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All awake to itself

I am attending an intensive for the type of bodywork I am doing. The bodywork itself is a laboratory for practice and exploration, for self-inquiry, and it is a wonderful practice in many ways. Deep, nourishing and soulful. 

But one thing is left out, and it is a crucial step – and also quite obvious when we see it. 

With its emphasis on mindfulness of the “me” only (the human self and its identities and dynamics), an identification as first the doer (shifting into observing) and then the observer may easily become “invisible”. If it is habitually there anyway, it may not be strengthened, but there is also not a direct invitation to bring it to attention and notice it. The sense of “I” may continue to lurk outside of attention. 

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