Who am I?
Well who is asking the question?
Well who is watching the one who is asking?
And who is watching the watching?
And still there is one who is watching the one watching the watching.
This goes on and on until the realization occurs
that any observation made has an observer:
the observer that can never be observed.
And so I don’t really exist, for as I watch myself I realize I am not the one I am watching…
But the awareness itself, though as soon as one sees that one is in this state of pure being, one has lost the state…
for there is once again an awareness that is watching this state be acknowledged…
We as we believe ourselves to be are nothing more than a thought pattern; an observed event… No more personal than a random blade of grass… An observation, that is all I am… Yet who I really am cannot be said, for as soon as I say it, I am pointing out something outside of myself… Thus the cycle continues
I agree. Well said. Similar in nature to things that have been on my mind lately.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the Ludwig Wittgenstein quote – “If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but quality of timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.”
The present, how the boat driver from Waking Life put it – “a state of constant departure while always arriving.”
So, from these two statements I’m at the conclusion that eternal life belonging to those who live in a state of constant departure and arrival, would almost if not literally mean that they don’t exist at all. The constant acknowledgment of your own none existence, is to exist?… I don’t know. Maybe just a paradoxical play of words.
I’ve also been wondering, not who am I, but am I at all? Am I really alive or am not just a conduit for life? Just a medium for the expression of actual ‘life’ – thoughts, feelings, ideas, emotions, etc. Sometimes it feels like I’m their originator, then other times like they originated themselves. It’s hard to describe. It’s like conscious waking life is just a front for subconscious actual life…
Yea, lost in abstractions. Fun fun.
Through self inquiry, which is basically what one is doing when searching for the self, for one’s true nature, you come to a point where you realize that the answer to the question ” Am I at all?” is no. When you experience thoughts, there is an experiencer, and when you turn your attention towards that experiencer, you find that indeed you have not actually directed yourself towards the experiencer, but are simply experiencing another mental object. “I” is just a form within consciousness, but it is not consciousness. It is not you, for it is something that is experienced, and therefore that which experiences it is what you truly are.
You are not their ( thoughts ) originator because you as you think of yourself is simply a conglomeration of beliefs, expectations, and reflections of “past” that you mistake for an actual physical history. From these expectations you form an imaginary future, and you then have yourself a past, present, and future, however truly it only all exists in the present. It is one gigantic imaginary story that is so complex that attention can become so wrapped up in it that you forget who you truly are.
This is where language gets confusing, because if who you truly are is the ultimate subject that cannot be observed, then who is the person whose attention is forgetting their own true nature? This is where experience in this state is necessary to really understand, because though you are the ultimate subject, there is undoubtedly a feeling of ” I-ness”, of ” I am making these choices and thinking these thoughts. I am searching for my own true nature. If I am an illusion, then how is it possible that I search for my own true nature?” However, while thinking this, while observing that I-ness, you realize that oh wait! There is an observer observing the I-ness, which means fundamentally I am not that person! This will happen a few times on a deeper and deeper level, as one observes deeper and deeper, or more fundamental, “subjects”. Then finally one experiences complete, subtle subjectivity, and at that moment it is clear that the “I” that was searching was not really an entity, but an event, an object no different than the computer that you read this on. Each attempt at observation was no different that a splash in a lake; an event. Recollection of all these events; the experience of continuity, is what gave the illusion of being a person, but you are not a person, you are the awareness from which the form of personhood arises… At least that’s what seems to be the case thus far. There is still a long way to go.
Thanks for sharing these thoughts. With my yet limited experience of psychedelics and meditation I haven’t yet come close to that experience of complete, subtle subjectivity that you refer to. But I have gotten a taste of it, so what you are saying makes sense.
I’m sure as we both dig deeper, the only realization we will always come back to is that we will never be able to fully understand. And maybe that’s the final realization :)
I believe the best quote and philosophy that tackles the never ending desperate question of who and what we are states “I think therefore I am.” Renè Descartes first procaimed this is the 1600s when the great philosophical question was asked about whether or not we were awake and living at the moment or if this reality is actually some dream we conjured up and are actually currently sleeping. This statement has kept me up late at night trying to understand its full meaning and it can be thought of in many ways. It states that the mere fact that we question our existence proves that we do in fact exist. Or maybe it means that simply because we are thinking we are living creatures. It could also just mean that how we think determines how we act and perceive our world “I think this way therefore I see the world this way.” However you decide it means to you its always a good point to consider whenever you find yourself questioning existing
“While you are watching this present experience, are you aware of someone watching it? Can you find, in addition to the experience itself, an experiencer? Can you, at the same time, read this sentence and think about yourself reading it? You will find that, to think about yourself reading it, you must for a brief second stop reading. The first experience is reading. The second experience is the thought, “I am reading.” Can you find any thinker, who is thinking the thought, I am reading?” In other words, when present experience is the thought, “I am reading,” can you think about yourself thinking this thought?
Once again, you must stop thinking just, “I am reading.” You pass to a third experience, which is the thought, “I am thinking that I am reading.” Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into the feeling that you think them all at once.
In each present experience you were only aware of that experience. You were never aware of being aware. You were never able to separate the thinker from the thought, the knower from the known. All you ever found was a new thought, a new experience.”
This image reminded me of this thread :)