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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who am I?

Eckhart Tolle mentions in his book, The Power of NOW, that he once had thoughts about his life being so meaningless that he thought he couldn't live with himself any longer. And then suddenly he became aware how peculiar that thought was. "If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self' that 'I' cannot live with."

I know I have, and probably other people have asked "Who am I." Not only who am I but why am I? The first question may be easier to answer than the second. I would like to tackle the first question first and then the second question later. Please feel free to chime in and post your comments at any time.

When I am in deep meditation - I mean really deep - there is no sense of self. Like today, I prepared myself for meditation by getting into some very comfortable clothing. I looked at the clock, it was 3:15 PM. I put ear plugs in my ears and shooter's ear mufflers over them with a bandanna around my eyes. No sound and no light was evident. Then I sat cross legged in a swinging hammock and placed my arms and hands in such a position they weren't touching anything. It was like suspended animation with most of the senses shut off. All there was was a sense of breathing and a sense of presence. I then began imagining breathing through the chakras beginning with the first chakra at the base of the spine. Slowly I went up the spine, one chakra at a time, concentrating on the chakras as my breath went in and out of the spinning wheels.

I don't remember reaching the last chakra. The only thing I could sense was presence and a void - an open space that seemed to extend on forever. And then the sense of presence was gone - there was no self. The only thing that remained was silence and space. And then it seemed as though suddenly my senses came alive. I could feel my breathing and my arms resting in my lap. I could hear, ever so slightly, the muffled sounds of dogs barking and a little stream of light coming in around the edges of the bandanna. I took the bandanna and ear muffs off and discovered my legs were asleep; numb from sitting cross legged. I looked at the clock on the wall and it was 5:30 PM. Two hours and fifteen minutes had passed.

Had I been asleep for more than two hours, in deep dreamless sleep, or had the self become one with the Absolute? I was either in deep nondreaming sleep or had completely lost the self. Whatever the case, I had been formless with no identity of the body or mind. Sri Nisargadatta says, "When you are very quiet, you have arrived at the basis of everything. When you are in that state, you have no awareness of your existence." Evidently the self with all of its concepts, thoughts, senses, beliefs and even consciousness had left for those two hours and fifteen minutes. The true Self was the only thing remaining.

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