It often seems that weeks, months, and even years blend into one another at breakneck speed until we run smack into a barriers that demand our attention: divorce, illness, death of a loved one, financial woes, career issues–these, and now the ongoing issue regarding a virus, are only a few of the circumstances that can cause us to pause and ponder the direction of our lives. At such times, the big questions often loom with great importance: “What do I really want in life? How do I wish to spend my remaining years? What holds meaning and importance?” However, an even bigger question often goes unasked; perhaps because most individuals believe it too simple to even consider. It is this: “Who Am I?” The answer–the real one, not the simple answer for which most persons settle–holds the key that can unlock great joy and peace.
Until we hit that barrier, the majority of individuals will likely be satisfied believing they know who they are. Case closed. We have been conditioned to believe that we are the sum total of name and form. In short, me: Art Russell, the name; and the body that is typing these words. We were programmed to believe this as children; and as the years rolled on, we added more descriptive terms related to nationality, career, age, bodily qualities, personality traits, and tied them together with words such as husband, wife, father, mother, brother and sister. Still, however, we were dealing with a conceptual self, not the true nature of our reality. The word “I,” which is repeated hundreds of times each day, either as a thought or spoken word, lends credibility to the identity that only exists in the mind.
Aren’t we just little John or Jane Does and our accompanying bodies? To arrive at the true answer, we must earnestly investigate. We must be willing to disentangle ourselves from our pat answers and learn to discern between the story of ourselves, and the truth of our reality. Even a little effort will reveal that we cannot be the body because it is always changing. It is an object. We, however, feel that we are the subject. We are the witness of the body; not the body itself. How can we literally be something that has no independent existence. The body is a fabrication of the mind, even though we feel a sense of residency within it. If we pay close attention, we can see–perhaps through meditation–that we can watch our thoughts, in much the way that we watch other objects that seem more tangible. Who, though, is the witness of our thoughts?
Answer: The real Self, which is Universal Consciousness. And this consciousness–the One and Only Consciousness–is not personal; it is impersonal. As it was never born into form, it is not subject to death. How could it be? Yes, the body will ultimately die, but that does not–in any way–mean that we die. We have always been the light that shines through the form; not the form itself. When understood deeply, this knowing can relieve us of so many of the worries that often consume the person, aka body-mind.
Person’s are often consumed with sensory input, to the extent that we rarely question that nature of the witness who knows our experience. To experience this directly, we need only turn our attention inward; toward the stillness in which we recognize that we are the Awareness that witnesses our sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts. Here, right now, is the freedom–from the belief that we are the body and any suffering it may encounter; when we shrug off the belief that we could ever be limited to name and form. We are Spirit. The drama that we witness is played upon the stage of the waking state. We are beyond any of the drama, any of the sickness, and any of the death. Isn’t this reason enough to investigate the nature of our being?
What is the relevance of this right now, especially with what’s going on in the world? The answer is of major import because it can actually free us of the conceptual “self” that is suffering any of the consequences that are occurring. Truth. When we know that we are the Awareness in which the body and world actually appear, we realize that we are just as free now–even with the restrictions to our bodies–as we have ever been. Nothing has truly changed. Through our innocent ignorance, we have erroneously believed that our identity was of name and form. The truth is, is that the personal “i” that we believed ourselves to be is a representation made in mind.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell