Francis, my questions have to do with the sense of ‘me’, the sense of me is felt very easily and I have the feeling that it is the same sense of the ‘I am’, is it a necessity to distinguish between the two? Also, I have read Nisargaddata, and he recommends ‘holding on to the sense of I AM’; if this is practiced, is it the me holding on to the me? And is there goal to this action? Wouldn’t that make it a dual practice? Thank you so much, LLoyd
You asked the following questions:
There is no difference between I and I am, for we are both. “I” refers to a subject, a person, “am” refers to an action, that of being. Consciousness, our reality, our being-ness, is neither a person, nor an action: it is both and neither. The words at our disposal will never fully describe it. They are just pointers.
The sense of “I Am” is a perceived object. Holding on to it is a spiritual practice that belongs to the yogic path. It requires effort and concentration. In this process, the I-thoughts and the I-feelings are seen for what they are, limited objects appearing in consciousness. This in turn de-identifies consciousness from these objects and temporarily puts ignorance on hold, making it possible at some point for consciousness to apperceive itself in its absolute freedom. If you notice a rattle snake in your garage, keeping your eyes on it makes it possible for you to reach the safety of your family room, just as focusing on the sense of me enables us to access the peace of our true nature.
Once this apperception has taken place, no matter how fleetingly, all efforts to visualize consciousness gradually cease. The self inquiry continues effortlessly, dissolving on its path all the residues of ignorance. The yogi has become a jnani. The mere thought or feeling of his true nature soon takes him straight to a glimpse of his beloved.
That which is holding on to the me is the desire for liberation, which is love seeking itself. The me which is held on to is an object, a thought or a feeling.
There is dual practice as long as there is the belief in an individual, separate, objective consciousness who seeks liberation through this practice. In this case the goal is an object, a state to be acquired by this personal seeker. At some point, a shift takes place with the understanding that that which we are is not an object, gross or subtle, and we find ourselves open to the possibility that consciousness is divine and unlimited. As soon as we are fully open to this possibility, consciousness reveals itself for what it truly is, infinite intelligence, boundless love, absolute splendor, and puts an end to our misery.