The grammatical first-person I that, as subject, takes a verb, is the I in I-llusion. As subject, it’s also necessarily an object – conceivable – and therefore just another tool of thought and nothing more.
To say, “I am” and to assume that this little phrase holds some kind of spiritual power exposes yet another version of ego’s search for an identity. Although it’s held in almost magical regard by many spiritual teachers, I’ve always been edgy around this phrase. It asserts separation, individuality. Unless understood at a profoundly deep level “I am” has precisely the kind of power it takes to deepen the illusion and foster fragmentation.
Sooner or later one comes to the understanding that ‘I’ has nothing whatsoever to do with doing (or feeling) and has no need of a verb because IT is a verb.
Ramana Maharshi liked to use the term ‘I-I’. That’s good enough for me.
2 thoughts on “‘I-I’ replaces ‘I-am’”
‘I AM’ must have worked as a koan for Nisargadatta M. He laboured with it for three years till the “code” was cracked. He later said thet it s a hydra that must be killed (the only, or final obstacle to be surmounted). Same with ‘beingness’, or ‘Being’. Reality is beyond both being and not being, even though all these terms, including ‘reality’ are only concepts (actually,serving as pointers or signs to facilitate understanding).
It can be said that ‘I’ is the only subject whose object is Itself, isn’t that so? Thus, that polarity is annuled. If we say it is a verb, we still have a problem, since this gives the idea of dynamism (moving, acting, life), leaving out the corresponding idea/s of rest, staticness,changelessness. ‘I’, IT, is beyond both qualities or attributes, activity and rest. ‘Changelessness’ sounds perfect, though, and I’m sure you can account for it in your own words. Is it not better to use the words’consciousness’or ‘awareness’ for reality?
Great comment thank you dear AM. Yes we all wordify that which is beyond words as best we can, and according to our understanding at any given time. The understanding evolves – these notes, remember, were penned almost eight years ago, and there have definitely been clarifications in my understanding since then – but the Changelessness remains … just so.
I’ve come to prefer the term (the) awareing, for I cannot separate the Changelessness of which you speak from all that it awares – and for me that’s the whole movement of Life – very dynamic indeed!
Different schools of thought use the word ‘consciousness’ differently. Buddhists, for example, would not equate consciousness with ultimate Reality. K didn’t either. Yet the Direct Path teachers do. One has to go deep within one’s own experience and find what works for one – otherwise it can be very confusing. It all depends on whether one is more interested in the words or the ineffable Reality they attempt to indicate.