Who am I?

What/who is the “I”? (“Who am I?”)

How do you differentiate the observer and the one who is engaged in activity?

When we talked, you mentioned about the ‘I’ that is engaged in activity and I could see that when you mentioned it.

I had similarly also noticed that at other times too. I am unable to place both these minds though.

How do you differentiate the observer and the one who is engaged in activity?

Is the ‘I’ or ego only the latter and not the former? Is this type of observation – observing yourself in action helpful?”

My reply:

You have to look for yourself. It’s a realization that comes from seeing and no one can do it for you.

I can tell you about the “I” and the one seeing it, just as someone can teach you about God, but nothing you ‘learn’ can come even close to Truth.

You can know a thing conceptually, and many do, but if it’s not realized it will never be real, it will never become embodied.

Some people get stuck in Advaita (or Neo-Advaita and Non-duality) for example where they talk a lot about emptiness and ‘being nothing’ and so on.

That’s all a phase though, there’s more that comes after that, but for someone who is ‘taught’ that ‘oh, emptiness is the awakening’, they get stuck there, believing that that is what awakening is about.

So you see many people in those types of circles go around saying that they don’t exist, that nothing is real so nothing really matters and so on.

They have made the emptiness, which is meant to be a phase, into a new belief-system.

You asked:

Is this type of observation – observing yourself in action helpful?”

Of course it is; it’s the whole point to awakening to realize the true nature of your being, to see through the false self.

Which is not “wrong” or “bad” by the way, it’s just the wrong/mistaken identification where consciousness has fixed itself into, unknowingly by the (un-) awareness of “you”.

How you begin to see through it is by simply sitting down and start observing your thoughts, feelings and sensations.

Become deeply aware of your ‘inner world’ and what is going on there.

When you do, you begin to separate yourself from the thinker of thoughts to the one who sees and become aware (the observer) of the thoughts.

You get behind them as an awareness looking (being aware) of the one (“you”) who is engaged in activities (and ‘thinking’).

It’s a formless ‘beingness’ and it’s not located in a specific place. It just ‘is’, and when you begin to go very deeply inwardly you will start to sense it. 

Then you also begin to become aware of all the different roles you play in life, such as being a man, a woman, a boss, an employee, a victim, a person of faith, a mother, brother, friend, pet-owner, and so on.

Those are just costumes consciousness wears.

When you go ‘behind’ the costumes and start connecting with That which wears them you begin to connect with the true nature of your being, as It.

And the costumes are not wrong either, even if they don’t ‘mean anything’, because they do mean something, it’s what you make of them that counts.

So it is important to learn to distinguish between your “I”, the state of your current level of consciousness and consciousness itself (the All-ness of Life).

Consciousness is the Creator, and you are both the creator and the created (the person you ‘think’ you are).

So you can think of the shell, or costumes, the masks you wear, in whatever way you want and consciousness will follow.

You can think they mean nothing, that it’s all empty and without meaning, or you can think ‘wow, since I’ve created That I can create something different!” and that realization will make you excited about life, believe me!

When this is realized, it becomes fun to be a human being because now you can be, have, and do whatever you want to and you get to enjoy all the different expressions this One Consciousness has (and can have) as you.

But for as long as you think you are only the roles you play, or your name or the physical body, or what you do, your consciousness is going to be hijacked by the conditioned self and you will think that that’s all you are.

The ego is the conditioned self, programmed by culture, religion, society etc, and the awakening process is all about seeing through the beliefs you have about who you think you are and what life is. 

Once you have awakened, all the looking and searching ends, that all ends, and your beliefs becomes replaced with Truth (that was already there to begin with, only clouded and hidden by all the layers of the false).

And when you know who and what you are, life becomes how it’s meant to be.

If you don’t know who you are however, and you stay asleep, the world will continue to tell you who you are, it will teach you what is acceptable, what you can be and not be and so on.

But to discover what it truly means to be a human being you have to make the inward journey yourself, and relentlessly so, fully dedicated to Know Truth.

So to answer your question, I invite you to do some really deep self-inquiry and ask (within yourself) who the one is that is wearing the consume that is ‘you’. 

Who is that?

Who is looking through your eyes and reading this? Who is hearing the thoughts in your head right now?

Who is thinking them..? Where do they come from? And so on.

Become intensely curious about these things and stuff will start to happen, I promise you that.

Some of what you start becoming aware of will be startling, some of it will be disturbing, and some will be mind-blowingly beautiful, all beyond words to describe. 

You are the Creator and the Created/Creation at the same time, but to understand this conceptually is not enough, it’s not a new belief-system to adopt.

So keep looking until you find it, and when you do, you will know it, and you don’t need any books or teachers to tell you anything anymore when you have the realization.

Accept no intermediating between you and God/the Divine/Universe/Truth.

Second-hand knowledge is not enough, you need the direct personal experience and then you will wake up to your true identity.

It must be experienced to be known, but not through knowledge; knowledge is not the answer, realization is.

No one can teach it, you can’t buy it or get it from anyone, but you can read descriptions about it (although no description can ever really describe it), I can tell you about it, but to be free you must realize it, there’s no other way.

Don’t accept anything less than your own personal experiences, realizations, insights and so on, no one’s experiences and realizations can be substituted for your own, so whatever I have shared with you here today, don’t ‘believe’ any of it.

Realize it by going within and make the discovery yourself and when you do the search stops and you ‘become God’/realize God as yourself.

Look for it within you and you will wake up to it, and this too is something you can ask yourself; who is it that is on this journey of discovery?

Who is that?

Lastly, here’s an old article where another reader asked me a similar question, I think it can be helpful to you:

Questions About Self-Inquiry (Ask Maria)

All in all, there’s so many phases and processes you’ll go through and most people get stuck somewhere on the journey in new belief-systems etc.

The most important thing I want to get across with what I share is that life is meant for living, to be enjoyed, and it’s not necessary to wake up to have a really good and awesome life.

Unless you really want this, to wake up, then I would just honestly suggest that you simply just intend to be happy, to live a happy life, and consciousness will follow that too 😊

But if you do want to wake up then pick up the shovel and start digging through the pile of all your inner convictions and beliefs because that’s the only way to liberation, there is no other way to do this than by the inward-way.

(And Truth is beneath the pile, at the very bottom of it, metaphorically speaking.)

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You have been an amazing addition to my life!

Thank you for all of the wonderful light, and love that you send out into the world. You are indeed an inspiration even though we are half way across the world – isn’t that wonderful! It is a privilege that is not taken lightly. Thank you Maria! 

Ruby Coleman Professional Musician and Actress, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

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  1. Ajit Menon

    Thanks Maria…This makes a lot of sense to me! I do think that I am on that inward journey and the journey so far has been challenging but worth it! My awareness so far has been mainly in the emotions I feel (this is now happening more easier than before) and sometimes into awareness of thoughts – So for example, I can break certain cyclic thoughts etc. However, seeing the thinker seems like a step above all these kinds of awareness. Anyway, I want to keep looking!

  2. Then that’s exactly what you should do Ajit! 😊 Be intensely curios about it all and Truth will begin to reveal itself to you more and more as you progress on your journey.

    Aim to become a ‘finder’. Don’t look at yourself as a ‘seeker’, but as a finder. 😊

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