'Sailor' Bob Adamson
Francis of Assisi
The Ego, the Reference Point
When a child is born it functions without the benefit of conceptual thought up to the age of about 2 or 2 1/2.
Natural functioning - which means living without a personal sense of self - occurs until that time (and a lot after that time too, actually). Up till this time there is no 'sense of self', but it arrives with the development of conceptual thought. John Wheeler has described the sense of self as an 'assumption' rather than a discrete thought - something that is taken for granted and other thoughts are based on that.
That thought or assumption could very well have occurred as a result of an observation, in the immediacy of now, of their own natural functioning at the age of about 2. Nothing wrong with that, but then conceptual thought comes into the picture and other thoughts are added around that central one.
Over time that assumption or observation is built upon - with 'my' attributes, 'my' characteristics, 'my' life story, 'my' beliefs etc all of which make the underlying 'me' seem solid, personal and real. At that point the conceptual 'me' is now perceived as the actual. The self image is born - and it is just that - a mental image - it is not the real thing.
The amazing irony is that the core of the self image is just a thought, or an assumption that 'I am' which was based on their own existence, their own presence, their own true nature !!! Which has now become conceptualized, concretized and fully believed in as a thought. This is 'me'. What a joke !! The kind of joke that makes tragic comedies.
The hallmark of the conceptualized and concretized self image is that it is totally self centered. The world revolves around 'me'. 'I' take umbrage. 'I' become offended. 'I' am an upset waiting to happen. The 'I' is the suspicious, mistrusting one. The 'I' is the judge of self and others. Only the 'I' wonders how pure their intentions are. It is the 'I' that wants answers to everything. 'I want this and I want that - no - not that - this'. 'It is the 'I' that REALLY wants to become the 'enlightened one'. The Varuca Salt in us all (from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory).
There is ONLY your/my actual true nature (which is the One Life and not a discrete separate entity with a personal sense of 'me') and the illusion of a conceptual sense of self - that is all - nothing else. Nothing else to choose from.
The thoughts and beliefs exist, but the 'me' the thoughts and beliefs point to does not. They refer to something that is only referred to in other thoughts. It is an idea that points to another idea. And that idea points to other ones. And that goes on and on and on... It does not finally point to something with a substantial existence.
There is nothing that you can actually find, or locate, or identify - except as represented in the content of other thoughts. If the 'me' the thoughts refer to actually existed, you should be able to find it, sense it, be aware of it directly in the immediacy of now, rest in it, feel the aliveness of it.
This is the whole point - the 'me' that the content of thoughts point to is NOT our own true nature.
We use the term 'me', which does not point to anything except the content of thoughts. Can we find a thought that IS 'me'? No we cannot.
The 'me' that we think we are is an illusion - thoughts exist which say that the 'me' exists (which we believe) and that is the only evidence for its existence. Just like the Tooth Fairy. (sorry Mum). So we investigate to see if the 'me' is really there. Can it be found? Where is it exactly? Where does it start? Where does it end? Is there a 'me' there at all? If not - was there ever a 'me' there at any time in the past?
You do not need a radical shift to be what you already are. You already are what you seek and have always been so - you could not be anything else. The game is to see the false as false and to see the true as true.
The use of the word SEE is paramount - SEEing what you are and SEEing what you are not. Having thoughts about your true nature and believing them is just another another belief (thought) and is completely worthless, no matter how much you 'believe it'.
It has to be SEEN.
A lot of teachers talk about their special 'enlightenment experience' and stories of this are very popular - entire books are devoted to enlightenment stories.
But very often the stories have a lot to do with 'being special'. It puts there a special experience that you must have or your 'enlightenment' it is not genuine, not authentic. Or at least not as good as someone else's.
That story keeps people in endless seeking - rejecting the actuality of what is actually happening.
There is no specification for the 'enlightenment experience'.
There is no set structure for it - there cannot possibly be.
All stories which imply that are erroneous.
Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 8 November 2009
Wei Wu Wei