Thursday, February 19, 2009

Only the Self is looking for the Self

As a ME, I am isolated... I am "in here" while the world is vast and separate... "out there"...

As a ME, I have to protect myself, ensure my survival, build up an image so that I stand apart, maintain my separateness, my individuality, my value, my "purpose in Life."

As a ME, I have everything to lose and nothing real to gain. I cannot hold on to anything I love and have to constantly harden myself against the possibility of loss.

As a ME, my entire existence is dependent on what has come and what remains to come. My presence is entirely dependent on the presence of the "outside" world.

As a ME, I seek to find wholeness from within a splintered existence, from within a shell of absolute isolation and loneliness. This limited and isolated existence is suffering itself.

Yet if there is an honest look, "ME" does not exist.

"ME" is an idea, a conceptualization of patterns called "thought", "intellect"... "ME" is a bundling of ideas and forming a so-called separate and temporary existence. You are not the "ME".

How is this "ME" known?

This "ME" is known through some means of knowledge - various passing sensations later called "body"... various passing perceptions later called "world". These are all taken together and the conceptual picture or image is created, an illusory entity is formed in mind only - a belief - an assumption. "ME" can only be known to arise in thoughts, and thoughts are experiences.

To what is the "ME" appearing? How is this concept known?

There is a primary subjectivity, a singular and immediate source of knowing - there is a container or context within which the content called "ME" comes.

That source has always been present to know the passing of various content, to witness the sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly play of the "ME living in the world."

That source is the Self. This is what we really mean when we say "I".

As such, this Self is already fully known, fully obvious, before the spiritual search is ever started. As such, the Self is never absent and the very basis for the world and the body-mind to appear.

The Self is the singular, impersonal, limitless and knowing source or presence from which every "thing" that appears has it's dependence.

The "ME"-idea is the only "thing" that was born. It came upon your true nature and it will go. You are left unaffected by any of it.

You are left as you are, untouched, uninvolved.

The Self is only found by finding itSelf. Who else is looking?


Anonymous said...

Hello again.
I am David theone who asked you all the questions about suffering etc.
May I ask - does the self feel dome shaped?

Randall Friend said...

Hello again my friend. Very good question. Let's look at this two ways...

If the Self were known somehow, due to some means of knowledge (a sensation or perception), some way to assign an attribute (dome-shaped) - then THAT would be another object, another thing, a form - there would be another Self prior to. Any "thing" appearing will disappear. The Self is the knowing of all attributes and as such has no shape, form, size, color, weight - indescribable, unshakable, limitless...

This points directly beyond and prior to ALL appearances - that which is immediately knowing any appearance.

As we inquire into the Self, we notice various sensations, various perceptions, some bold, some subtle - something remains prior to - through this inquiry we see that the world comes only as perceptions... the body-mind comes only as sensations... these passing sensations and perceptions are conceptualized as body-mind and world, yet if the concepts are stripped away, all that is left is pure sensation.

This is neti-neti... something "unseen" is seeing, something not appearing is aware of these appearances, something which isn't a perception IS the very perceiving itself...

The sensation and the knowing of the sensation are not-two - this is the Self - Existence/Presence knowing itSelf to be limitless - sat-chit-ananda...

From the perspective of phenomenality - the Self does not appear - it is nothing (no-thing) - it is the pure invisible witness of all that appears. From the absolute perspective, the Self is everything which appears - perceptions appearing within the very function of perceiving.

From that perspective anything that appears is THAT - anywhere we look is the Self. The separation into "inside" and "outside" world, into a ME and a WORLD, is only conceptual. This is actual experience right this very moment, only it's overlooked due to inattention.

The Self is not difficult to find, it is unavoidable - it is THAT which is doing the looking...

love to you

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
The reason I asked because that period before when i described entering into spiritual phenomon I did feel something dome like. Its clear from your answer that whetevr that was it was soemthing less than the self. How I experience it was a feeling which extended from my Heart and seemed to encompass the world. Then sometimes I would get complicated and think where does my body relate into this heart space and then i would lose it. But if i simply felt the heart space without attentio to the body the happiness became fuller and fuller. Then curiously and without expectation (because i dindt know anything about spiritual traditions) I found that if i ignored any self references and did nothing for self but did things for God the happiness becamse fuller. And it wasnt my happiness - was the space of happiness. And I would notice all kinds of things in the mind and i would just let them go with the feeling i dont need to do that because there is God. Then not only did the happines s ebcome fuller but those arisings in the mind became less frequent. And then Happiness was so delcious it wanst mine at all. And then as abided in the space more and more i sensed that the whole world, all of mind, and all objects, takes place in a great dome. At least thats how it felt to me. And in that dome all objects started to lose there formibility. So that everything started to become more plastic and even seemed alive with great force. And crackled! And even to melt! And it was a quickly developing process. From the time i first experienced that to when it became all shining was just 12 weeks. But then i got sick. It wanst the sickness that caused the loss. I in fear actually shut everything down. Stopped abdiding stopped ignoring stopped attended. In in my naive logic of youth i just felt i will get well and then do it agin because it was so easy! But when i did get well and went to do it again (now armed with all kinds of spiritual knowledge) it wasnt there anymore. I had become posessed with intention. That inital period i had no intention because i didnt even know there was anything to intend towards it was just an absolute attraction to happiness. And i was prepared to ignore everything except that.

Anyway my question about the dome came from the fact that I wonder if I had stayed in place, so attracted, would this melting of objections have settled at the dome. Not exactly dome as perimeter but dome as fullness.
From your answer i think there are layyers of identification i am not really aware of.
Thnak you.

Randall Friend said...

Spiritual experiences have many varied qualities, intensities, colors, shapes, durations - they are fantastic and wonderful and blissful.

Yet no experience which begins and ends can be the Self. No experience which is describable can be the Self.

Every experience, whether spiritual or mundane, requires an experiencer. That experiencer is attributed to the person, the small "self", the ME. That ME has always been present for each experience, as it came and went, as the spiritual bliss came and then later faded - the "self" remained.

Yet that small "self" is attributed to the body-mind - which is nothing but more temporary experience - the body-mind is EXPERIENCE - the "self" still remains unchanged yet the identification with the body-mind is clearly false - the unchanging ME, which is really our experience, has nothing to do even with those experiences, of body and mind.

So all that remains of identification is a thought-ME - a thought "I am a small self". "I am an identified self looking for a the Self".

Yet we see that these thoughts are experiences also - even the thought of I-AM-ness, the thought which ties that ever-present fullness, limitlessness with the idea of a ME, a little "self" is nothing but another experience...

Therefore the True Self, the real "I" - is THAT which is always aware of any and all experience yet is not arising within that field of experience as an object. Like the swan who lives in the water yet never submerges, the feathers never get wet of water.

The True Self MUST, by definition, be the most intimate aspect of any and all experiences. It is the source of all experiences while itself not being an experience, unless we point to the totality of experience itself.

Throw away the tight grip on these past spiritual experiences - the Self shines fully right this very moment.


Anonymous said...

Yes! Thank you! I am starting to see that even to ask a question is in some sense to relinquish that viewpoint.
And i really feel that no experience can be looked forward to or sought. Even however good it is what does it matter if I am going to die.
But how is that there is a my body my and the self. surely there is a locus of self that at leats contains 'particualr experience'. The self expeeicnes even this body-mind. but this body minds experience is very different from an owls experience. I can see that I am a pice of clothing worn by the self. but that leads me to the feeling that i am part of the self. i know, intellectually thats not true. but what is the container of particaular, localised experience.

Randall Friend said...

The Self contains experience but is not dependent on any - as in deep sleep no object arises as experience yet upon waking you say "I slept". Who is it that knows "I slept"? The normal trapped or localized self is not present during deep sleep - yet there is undeniable knowledge of the duration of sleep.

This primacy of subjectivity is not personal, not a particular and individual self - this pure subject remains at the heart of all experience, whether of the human or the owl.

You are not a human, searching for spirit - you are pure spirit, aware of itself through human experience.

The Self is said to be in the Heart - the Core of existence itself - pure knowledge of existence - God knowing Himself.

You know this "I AM" - it is undeniable - it is that which is the heart or essence of any experience. This pure Subjectivity is what we call "I" or "I AM".

You already know yourself fully, only you know it as a body-mind, as a locus of experience. That locus is itself another experience to what you really are.

Take a look - see what is knowing thoughts or the analytical intellect right now... don't look for another experience or anything describable - look for the immediacy of pure experiencING itself... then it may dawn that the Self cannot be searched for without the Self already being present.


susana said...

Your words point to the clear direct
with no imaging along the way.
No promise of what is to come
just the clear cut call of what is here, right now.
And in this appearance, gratitude to this teaching appears, reverent and profound.
And yet even that is just an appearance for how can you be separate.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again. When i first wrote I challenged you about your state and questioend whether it was 'talking school'. I can see I was wrong to do that. I apologise. Its just its too desperate to be satisfied with mental affirmations.
Is the contracted indivdual - 'me' - simply layers of contracted energy and consciousness? And if so what is exactly am I? What is the point - the locus of contraction? Surely theer must be a something which is making an error - even if it is just a mechanism? Where is it that contraction arises? What are the 'arms' whereby contraction is enacted? If there is no one who is presuming separatness?

Randall Friend said...

My friend,

Consciousness is all there is. The Self. Regret about a comment, a thought, an action, is taking the appearance to be a personal accomplishment. I assure you there is no one doing any of it. Consciousness is appearing exactly as it should in each and every moment.

The identified, contracted ME is an effort - it is made up of thought, belief, pulled from memory and imagination, construction of a story around events which are not personal, not individual. The "Individual ME" is an assertion of intellect - that chattering thought-stream which is analytical in nature, placing labels/concepts in order to make sense of the appearance and ensure survival of the organism.

It is a great strain to maintain the "ME-story". If involves much suffering, because that ME is another thing to hold on to - another thing that is impermanent, fleeting - it is a story about a fragile and separate existence - limited and at some point to disappear forever.

This obvious presence of pure Subjectivity - the "I" - is mixed up with the object known as "body-mind" - it is taken to be ME as a separate, individual and personal entity. If we investigate the nature of this true "I" we find it's subjectivity is beyond even that body-mind, the body-mind appears TO it, within it - the thoughts which proclaim ME-ness also appear in this way.

In fact, as we continue this way (neti-neti, not this, not that) we cannot find anything perceivable or conceivable that is what we are. Anything which appears is objectified by "I".

So "I" is seen in direct experience to be the root or source of all experience - the real meaning of "I-mySelf" is that clear and obvious presence of knowing. It has been there all along yet the ME was created as a personal entity because of false identification with an object - body-mind - which has nothing at all to do with what you are. It is merely the viewpoint through which Consciousness experiences itSelf.

Finding the Self is a spontaneous relaxation of this contraction, a realization that the seeking was always looking in the wrong direction, fixating on more objects, looking for Peace in the impermanent field of appearances. Finding the Self is finding that Peace is your very nature - unshakable, already fully present.

As you are seeing, the moment a question arises to seek the Self, the Self is already moved away from. Yet the Self can never actually be lost - it is present at this very moment, obvious - as the pure Consciousness functioning to know these words.


Anonymous said...

You know lately i have been feeling that great heart space again. I was just out walking and i could see (literally see)and feel that everything - all the houses, trees, all the cars, all the bodies are somehow existing in consciousness as spiritual force. And when i 'concentrate' in, or yield to that It becomes fuller and thicker! Just like years before. And when I ignore things in the mind and remain true to this space it seems greater and I seem to 'widen'. The Heart space seems distracted beyond what is in the heart space.
I have also been thinking a lot about these self -references and presumptions. I am starting to see that even all thinking is rooted in presumption. And so thinking is, and so then must the other faculties. Like when i asked about the dome and i said does the self feel domeshaped. you are right.i didnt get that when you said it but even that statement starts with the presumption of two. 'me feeling! 'maybe the self is domeshaped. but that would be the selfs business not mine.
a lot of writing of the self that you do and others have done has always seemed rather wordy and unintelligable to my point of view. however lately and especially with this heart expansion it is seeming to make more sense. like when learning a foreign language.
i sincerley desire to know the truth of myself.
thank you

Randall Friend said...


The heart is not the point, it is the space, the limitlessness that you're becoming aware of - yet can we see space? Can we quantify space? No. That no-thing-ness is evident and obvious yet we cannot see it.

The Self is like this - limitless, whole, fully present now but not appearing as some form, heart, dome, whatever - not appearing as any experience or any concept of what the Self might be.

Yes, all words are bullshit. The true teaching is silence - that silence is available now - look within, ignore experiences - find out what is ever-present and the ultimate subject to ANY experience or form or concept. Find that within you right this instant, not as some idea of future attainment if the proper feeling comes.

The Self is never absent or hidden - it is closer than your own face - it is the most obvious aspect of ANY experience - so obvious that it is overlooked in the search for it.

That desire grows to overwhelm all other desires and attachments, even the attachment to hardened beliefs and assumptions. That is called the flame of Joy - it grows to consume the Seer and the Seen until nothing is left but the SEEING.


Anonymous said...

Hello again my friend,

Latley I have been feeling a strange feeling in the rigth side of my Heart and when i locate that it feels like I am in the centre of the universe in a Great Space of One thing. One space. In that space everything seems to flow! All expereince happens in that space and it feels like if I just stay conscious of that space my own body is just a part of that whole space. One thing. Not me and another. Of course I am not abiding as that but in that space it seems liek that space it self purifies. And on two occasions I felt something strange. Just an intution that God is conscious of me. And i feel that if I were to realize the self i would see that God had always been conscious of me all along.
just to link with this feeling on the right side of the Heart IS happiness!

Randall Friend said...

Hello David,

Yes, relative spiritual experiences are often mistaken as important - it is simply what it feels like when beliefs begin dissolving - that natural freedom that is your true nature shines through.

As you've seen, these experiences of happiness come and go. Any experience is necessarily temporary. If this happiness were to come and be permanent, soon it would be lost to normalcy and you would be off looking for other happiness.

God is always conscious of "ME" - yet what does this statement truly mean? It means that the ME is something to be conscious of - that the conscious-ER (or Consciousness) is THAT which is aware of the object ME - the sensation or perception or idea of ME - God is that Consciousness, which is limitless, like space yet completely aware of all that arises within. "ME" is simply a passing experience to God within Himself, not apart from Himself, His presence, which is changeless and limitless.

God IS aware of ME - ME is a flowing bundle of sensation and imagination - God is that collapse of objectiveness into pure subjectivity - that pure "I-I" that is the most intimate and familiar source of any experience, yet isn't itself an experience.

The Heart is a concept for this source, this void of pure potentiality, this activity of knowing which is closer than your own face.

True Happiness of the Self is ever-present - not something that is found - this is called Bliss - Ananda - knowing of the limitlessness of God fully present in each moment, spiritual or completely mundane. Each blade of grass is sacred, each passing cloud a cause for tears of joy. Yet holding on to a specific spiritual experience misses the point - God has no conditions - no special attributes - no particular location - infinite and eternal presence - omnipresence means that each atom of dirt is not separate from God. And that atom cannot BE unless it arises as God.

God is aware of His own Face, right this very instant.


Anonymous said...

Thank you again! Yes i realise that the God aware of 'me' is not the correct way to see it. But what i exepreinced twice was a kind of bubble which seemed to include everything - including 'me'. And for a split second it seemed there was a big ME and a little me. But they were both 'me's'. And it was an intution that one could live as this big 'Me'. I know what i experienced is not 'it'. And any experience is not it.
May I ask do you know of the Amrita Nadi? i have been researching this feeling on the right side of the Heart and both Ramana Mahasrshi and Adi Samraj mention it. Have you heard of Adi Da Samraj? He wrote a book called Eleutherios in which he says even the self is not the final Realization. But there is even a Realization wherin the subtle difference between consciousness and objects is gone beyond. Of course I am not in a position to comment on the truth of that. But his books are remarkable.
In any case how I experinced this right side of the Heart is a feeling a flowing ecstacy and when I just 'know it' or know God' Everything expands and the happiness feels necterous. It does not feel like before when i felt the world as a Heart Space after a few days of that I could feel a subtle effort on my part - a subtle effort and therfore a subtle pain trying to engineer or hold up a feeling. This feels different, it feels completly effortless and is just a matter of attention. And when attention is so yielded everything I do i feel i am doing it for God. It seems so good that its astonishing! But it also feels something more than experience. Now what I mean by that is this: i know it is experience because it is still in the realm of change. But it doesnt come and go with emotions or with mind content or with body content it seems prior to all of that. Moreover it feels profoundly purifying so that if i observe a block in mind or in body or a self reference - a noticing of that rather than a noticing of the bliss - it does feel slightly impeded - yet if i ignore that and just attend to the space of happiness instead it gushes with happiness. but it doesnt feel like a struggle to get rid of stuff in order to get to God. It feels more like a recognition of the God space and allowing that to purify my pressumptions, holdings and self -identity.
Do you know of this Amrita Nadi?

Randall Friend said...

My friend,

Yes, the so-called center of spirit within the solid form is a concept - a point of focus for the mind - a way of looking at that which is looking - a way of the Self coming to recognize itSelf.

Spiritual experiences, after intense practices, can be remarkable. They are definitely fantastic and feel like you're on the right path. Yet the value of any spiritual experience is in the fact that it passes - spiritual experiences come and they are held on to - when they pass the frustration returns. This is the way of all paths - they all end, if taken to fullness, in frustration.

At this point the mind is left in abject poverty of knowledge and experience. As you say, beyond consciousness and objects. Nothing remains except the obvious reality that the world IS my very own Self.

Yet it seems we must get stuck on these conceptual "mystical nerve-centers" and these special "spiritual" experiences so that they can prove themselves futile - show that all experience can only arise due to the primacy of the already-present Self, which needs no spiritual experience.

We go around the bases, making progress, until we reach our goal which is arriving exactly where we always and ever were, already.

In this non-arrival, the only difference is that the veil of ignorance has been seen through. The Self is left as it always was - aware of itSelf, either as the "world" or as nothingness - which is the "gone beyond" you are speaking of.

"if i ignore that and just attend to the space of happiness" - just stay with this simplicity - don't try to figure it out or place it in some conceptual nerve center or make it about any experience. Stay with that primacy of emptiness from which everything is known, from which everything expresses itself in Joy.


Anonymous said...

Thank you I will do that!

And I may not write for a little while because I am moving geographical location but i truly thank you for all your words, all your advice. You are definately a friend!

Anonymous said...

oh but one thing I am not sure about. You said that the Amrita Nadi was a concept. But I experienced the sensation first and then researched it. I didnt know of it before. And i always found those kind of patangli moving energy around to be very unattracive. thats curious to me?
but i will give attention to your recomendation of ignoring.

Randall Friend said...

My friend,

There is no one who ignores or not - what is, is... whatever happens happens - either abandoning spiritual concepts and experiences or staying with them until they burn out. The foot will be on the choiceless path until it's not. This can be pointed out but until the fire of desire for the Self burns up all relative expressions, all concepts, the Self will still be the object of the search, the future goal, the ultimate achievement.

This is plainly and simply being lost in the woods, overlooking the sheer simplicity of the Self, which is NEVER not present and obvious.

Conditional spiritual experiences may arise or may not - they are in fact what it feels like when belief falls away - tastes of the freedom that is your true nature free of concepts... but ultimately ALL experience is experience of the Self - a simple blade of grass, a gust of breeze, the smallest speck of dust - anything that appears IS THAT - yet it's still only ever conceptual until it's clearly seen that anything arising in appearance CANNOT be separate from the Self.

Once this is clear, this felt sense of Oneness is the most obvious thing in the world - strikingly funny that it was constantly overlooked in the very looking for it and remaining in love with spiritual pursuits and experiences.

The Self has nothing to do with spirituality or specific experiences - it is the ground of all experiences, spiritual, mundane, "good or bad" - it is pure Reality, as it is. Right now.

You are THAT.