I am truly indebted to the conversation of Mastery in Life generated by Werner Erhard. Towards the end of that event – he engaged all of us in a conversation that allowed me to experience “who I am” in a whole new way. Almost two years later, I participated in “Direct Access” (a program from Landmark Education) where my experience of “who I am” became clear. In other-words – it became real.
Werner started his conversation by distinguishing that all of us organize our world into “here” and “there”. Here is wherever I am and there is where “what I am dealing with” is. Put in other words – here is where everything about me is; there is where everything “not about me” is.
- Here = I
- There = Not I
The conversation really allowed me to confront that – I have always organized my world into here and there.
The conversation then got a bit more intense when Werner led us to inquire into “where the seeing of X happening for me?” X could be anything. X could be an object. X could be another person. Diving into that inquiry led me to answers like – “the seeing of X happens in my eyes” AND “the seeing of X happens in my head”. After sticking to the inquiry for a sufficient length of time I realized that I was inquiring into “how the seeing of X happening for me” and NOT “where the seeing of X happening for me”. In other words I was coming up with an explanation for the way in which seeing happens, not where the seeing ultimately happens after all the explanations have been given. Although I can understand that I am seeing X through my eyes and that my brain interprets nerve signals from my eyes and therefore allows me to “see” X, that is simply an explanation of how the seeing of X is happening.
The question was – “where is the seeing of X happening for me?”. After my eyes does its job, after my brains does all its computing and nerve processing – I do experience seeing X. Beyond the how, I ultimately experience seeing of X somewhere. The question was where did the seeing of X happen for me?
As I continued to dive into this inquiry – I got very clear that
- My eyes dont see – I see through I my eyes
- My brains dont see – I see through my brains
There it was – “who I am goes beyond my eyes and brain”. The answer to who I am has to be beyond my organism (or body).
Coming back to “where the seeing of X was happening for me”. As I inquired into it more and more; ultimately the obvious answer came about. My experience of seeing X happens where X is.
How come? How can my experience of seeing X happen over there (where X is) when I am here. I was all along very clear that I was here and that X was there. By that definition my experience of seeing X should happen here where I was and not there where X was. But what I experienced was that my experience of seeing X was happening there (where X was).
That experience got me to wonder – maybe I am not here. Maybe I am here and maybe I am there also. Maybe, although I see through the faculties of my eyes and my brain, I was not “in” my eyes or my brain. (As Werner beautifully puts it – life doesnt happen in one’s head) Maybe who I am is here and there and there and there. Maybe who I am is all over the place. Maybe I am everywhere.
Maybe “who I am is the one that gathers experience of this world through my organism (the body)”.
It is through this organism that I experience this world with all its objects and organisms. It is through this organism that I experience the so called “me” or “identity”. Or as Werner puts it – who I am is the space in which it all shows up. It is in this space that the world show up. It is in this space that all of the people in my world show up. It is in this space that all the phenomenon in this world show up. It is in this space that the thing I refer to as “I” also shows up.
The conversation inside of which this inquiry was made opened up for me a whole new experience of myself. It is amazing. It simplifies everything.
I continued inquiring into the experience of “who I am is the one that gathers experience of this world through my organism (the body)“. As in inquired deeper and deeper – it became clear to me that
- If who I am is the one that gathers the experience of this world through this organism (my body)
- Who the other-person is is also someone that gathers the experience of this world through his/her organism (his/her body)
Could it be that “who I am” and “who the other-person is” be one and the same? Could it be that “who I am is the one that gathers experience of this world through this organism (my body) and the other organism (other’s body)?”
As I continued to inquire into this I started to realize that my habit (or belief) of organizing the world into here and there hindered me from experiencing that which I had just started to wonder. Everytime I got into the presence of another person’s happiness or joy or pain – I experienced that happiness, joy and pain. When team India won the world cup – I experienced winning the world cup. When my wife experiences the joy of being with our son; I experience her joy. It all became very clear. I was all along experiencing what other people in my life were experiencing. I was always gathering the experience of this world through my organism and through other organisms.
Who I am is not simply this thing (organism / body / identity) here. Who I am is all of it. The whole creation. The whole universe. Who I am gathers the experience of this world through all organisms. Beveling that I am distinct from you is perhaps as stupid as saying that “my left leg” and “my right leg” and distinct from each other and not connected at all. We are all legs of the same “ONE”.
As I began to gather – that who I am is the one that experiences this world through this organism and that organism and that organism and that one; I began to realize that I am another YOU!.
If I am another You – then, phenomenon such as jealousy, hatred, competition are all pointless. It would be really stupid if my left leg was competing with my right leg. Attempting to be better than someone or compete with someone means indulging in the belief that I could get better than what I already am. I already am all of it. What I am I going to get better into? There is nowhere to go, there is nothing to do. (Although – it doesnt mean “go nowhere” or “do nothing”. There is a fine line.)
It became very clear that my experience of this world will be cleaner, clearer and enriching if your experience of this world is clearer, cleaner and enriching. It became very clear as to why Werner was always saying – my transformation becomes more powerful if you are transformed.
The whole experience is very Zen like. It cannot be explained or argued for/against. It cannot be figured out. It has to be let free for showing up in our experience. When it does show up in one’s experience – it is amazing. One gets to experience being in the presence of love. It is a shame that I have been believing my way out of this experience all along.