who is the I ?

From: Piet Hut, 29th julu 2001, in response the following question from me :
“The past is imagined – but somewhat real – yes ? It happened – but ofcourse now exists in thought only – although physical ramifications of past actions are real – yes ? therefore from that point of view there is a reality ?”

But let us go slowly. It happened — so it seems. It surely makes our life simpler to think so and not to doubt that. But how do we know it really happened? All the evidence is only PRESENT evidence, PRESENT memories of past events. Let us go one step further. What difference would it make if the past was not real? Could we ever test that hypothesis scientifically or otherwise; in what way could we go about that?
And yes, we do normally live in the unquestioned belief in linear time and its inescapable rule of past events with its consequences governing present happenings. This is our real religion, more unquestioned and more ingrained in our bones and nerves than any more teneous `belief’ in any form of religion or science. But this does not make it more likely to be true. On the contrary. That what escapes investigation because it is so unquestioned is more much likely to have holes, to be only partly true and possibly seriously flawed in important ways.
What guarantee do we REALLY have for the law of karma and the scientific rules of cause and effect? I often think we are prisoners of linear time, cloistered by shackles that are totally imaginary. With Karl Marx I suggest that we, finally, have nothing to lose but our shacklers: our belief in being enslaved in linear time.
> the paper work I threw into the rubbish bin yesterday – still lies
> there today in this moment and the action is confirmed by the memory
> of others that saw me do it.
at first this seems totally powerful and convincing, but couldn’t this be on the same level as “you can see that the Sun goes around the Earth” or that “mass and energy are inherently different, cannot be converted” and similarly for time and space, which turned out to be at least partly transformable into each other in relativity theory?
I’d like to start asking, slowly slowly, who is the I in your quote. The I of today is not the same as the I of yesterday. By identifying those two, are we not already doing part of the work of putting on our shackles to linear time? What is the world would be REALLY created afresh in each moment, not as a poetic metaphor or romantic dream, but what if this would be the only reality — in which we use this infinite freedom at each moment to recreate a sense of bondage to linear time. Wouldn’t that be a terrible realization? The point is: sages in many times and places and very different cultures have reached such type of a conclusion. And I am beginning to see how science is moving in a similar direction. I would be willing to be a lot that this picture of true freedom in every moment is correct. In accordance with that, I’m trying to live my life in resonance with such a perspective.
> So perhaps it is not us that are imprisoned by time – but Time that is
> imprisoned by us. We have to let it go and watch it flow freely with a will
> of it’s own. But how do we divest it from it’s rlationship with action ?
AND there is the `us’ we normally identify with that is imprisoned by the `us’ whom we realy are. Like in a tapestry, you cannot cut out a single figure from a scene to `liberate’ it. You cannot liberate the image of a person from a snapshot from a movie. You can liberate the actor; or better, the actor is already liberated, was never really `caught’ by the movie. Similarly, the MAIN struggle in any spiritual path is that we tend to waste a couple decades trying to liberate the picture we have of ourselves, trying to enlighten that picture, something that will NEVER work. Then, tired from trying, and with a little guidance and lots of luck, we may stumble upon a way to find out more of who we really are. Together with that goes the realization that there was nothing to liberate or enlighten in the first place. These stories crop up here and there in esoteric literature, but are never offered for popular consumption; it would be pearls before swine, completely undigestible and leading to angry reactions. But they all point to the fallacy of linear time, in my opinion.

7 thoughts on “who is the I ?

  1. “That what escapes investigation because it is so unquestioned is more much likely to have holes, to be only partly true and possibly seriously flawed in important ways.”
    I am learning this every day…
    Great read Shekhar!! Are you at the recording studio now?

  2. Thanks for returning on my postings, Shekhar..going back to the film analogy got me thinking on this concept of time which is being discussed here…
    Models are great , even if they can be deconstructed and be proven to have holes, but here goes…
    Suppose you had an infinitely long piece of film, but which actually was joined at the ends to form a loop. As this film races round like film in a projector, a series of observers (us) are placed at positions such that they each view the “film”, as if through a shutter.
    To each viewer, the “time” and events being played out within the “timeframe” of the film are entirely relative depending upon their position around this loop – so whose time is actually “now” and whose is “then”, and whose is “will be”??
    In addition each viewer may be witnessing a slightly delayed or advanced fragment of the overall timeframe – the only constant here would be the film itself, which may never change and where the timeline is infinite…..
    Now duplicate and rotate the loop to form a sphere whose surface is composed of millions of such frame events (is space-time a “surface” ??)…
    …maybe the idea is full of holes but it might make for an interesting art installation…..
    …a thought to ponder on while you sit with your editor…

  3. Dear Sekhar,
    The Buddha taught there is NO SELF (no ‘I’) . The ‘I’ exists due to our delusion. This is a very difficult concept. Thinking is not required to realise this, because thinking again involves ‘I’. This is not a dogma, we can experience this. By meditating we can reach deeper levels of the mind where you get rid of your thoughts, emotions and mental formations and our conditioning which was done by our brought up.
    The following is a short excerpt from a talk given by Ajahn Brahm (A buddhist monk)..
    What do You Take Your Self to be?
    One of those wrongly formed questions is “Who am I?” This is an inquiry that many people in the world follow: “Who am I?” However, a little bit of reflection should make it very clear that this question already implies an assumption that you are someone. It already implies an answer. It’s not open enough. Instead, one needs to rephrase the question from, “Who am I?” or even, “What am I?” to, “What do I take myself to be?” or, “What do I assume this thing called ‘I’ is?” Such questions dig very deep into one’s avijja (delusion). Only then can one start to really look at what it is that one takes one’s ‘self’ to be….
    Full talk is available at
    The talk was recorded and available in MP3 format
    If you are interested please listen to it. It is really worth to listen, gives some insight.
    Thanks for you time. 🙂

  4. Hi, Shekhar,
    Hectic Life here. Hows yours????
    I like to share one Interesting thought. Many people do meditation by concentrating on each breath they take. I thought are people into meditating on each moment they pass in time. Ab Ab Ab Ab Ab Abhi Abhi Yeh This yes yes yes….
    Above You just asked one question and moved ahead.
    But let us go slowly. It happened — so it seems. It surely makes our life simpler to think so and not to doubt that.(Concluded???) But how do we know it really happened? All the evidence is only PRESENT evidence, PRESENT memories of past events. Let us go one step further. What difference would it make if the past was not real? :::::STOP…. I want to Stop you here::::
    Weather it be real or dream we have experinced it. we may have learnt something. But what we learnt a science a faith or we started believing something. Is that moment a conclusive one or we just went ahead, have we judged. Were we biased????
    We learn , we unlearn we believe we disbelieve. We change State of being. change. I can still remember My Childhood categorically when I was 3 months old. I could see everything. Never Concluded or judged the moment then.
    Real or unreal was no question for me. I simply experienced it. I feel sometime that I am happy and in love. But there is no body or thing or event or state of mind to feel like that. I imagined nothing but yes felt it.
    What I see is not Me. I see car I see cloudes . I am not a car or cloud.
    I see my “I” too. I conclude and judge my life and living nature. I Associate.
    Then I think about my surroundings in time and space.
    I concentrate and I give life to my moments by accpeting its invitation and recognising , acknowleding and saying Yes. Abhi Abhi Yeh this ….
    People say think out the box , people say etc etc. Innovative people. Yes they are.
    Its like gifting your soul to the world. Act like a Human. Its love, its passion, its curiocity, its proactiveness. Its a gift by our soul to this world to make it meaningful. I guess.
    Its feeling sad, its feeling bad. Its about categorising the moments. What we do through out our life?
    We categorise our moments. We sort, we anlyse, we see the listing , beautiful trends, Lines Up n down, we are accountants of our moments. We make them in array… we decorate them in circles. They are cyclic or they may be coded in our sub concious. We feel about them , we take decisions based on the picture created.
    We earn every moment. What we earn???? Is the question. How we earn is the question????
    May be not.
    To be on intellectual side. I want to say its us. Moments can be real or imaginary , life can be real or imaginary. If we see our memory its just a book keeping. If we visulise our future its again a book keeping.
    Shekhar when we going to die we will close. Till than its going concern. And that is only our concern. Our concern our trend analysis is for the business. The business for living each moment.
    I liked your title. But the question is have you categorised it?? Accounted for it? If yes then thats your life.
    Life is an edited film of recoginsed facts in the moments we lived many facts went unrecognised is not our life.
    Just imagine in one moment ( a measure of small time) how many life on this place called earth have realtively different life for the same moment.
    I was once sad, I saw the clear sky and thought Some body is definately very very happy.
    Self realisation to be a continous one. I dont need help of any of my senses or my mind. Why? Its coming its going, The thoughts , The moments, the feeling. I judge. I associate it with some thing happening. Pleasurable things become reason for agony and some unpleasurable becomes moments of joy. Its Caos. Its the true indetermination principle.
    Self realisation to be a continous one. I dont need help of any of my senses or my mind. Why? Its coming its going, The thoughts , The moments, the feeling. I judge. I associate it with some thing happening. If done subtly I call I am alive or if externally I can say I am a King.
    When I dream I wan not very serious if I am alive or not. But we take cognizance of the events differently when awake.
    How we will be taking conginizance of the fact when we will understand our true nature.
    As a Human We can do a lot. We can remain hungry for one year, we can go in Himalaya and stay without food in cold and go up to Everst. Not to surprise me.
    We can go to Moon. We will touch Mars. We will sure go other time zomes. We can creat AIs or real lifes too. I dont doubt it. Atleast me. Every thing is possible by Human. GOD yes.
    Very difficult is thinking out of the box. thinking that you are a bodyless soul. Even if we know. We feel we say ABHi Ab Ab This Yeh… Difficult to walk the talk. And its easy to do a good amount of tapasya for 1000 years or whatever but walking without your “I”.
    Its like living your own beautiful emotions burning your own accounts and burning you own body and mind with your own hand.
    Its like sitting on your own ashes. We have multiple objectives. People may be spiritual , religious, scintific, social worker but they have another objectives..to Feel comfortable, to fame, to family to ones own image. Its the moment, an imaginary moment ….is one of our dream. We all die for that imaginary moments never to come never to become a fact to our cognizance.
    It like a game. One can have his own game strategy. To live religiously or scientifically or otherwise.
    Required is the sportman spirit…. When you lose or win. With your ownself or others. Your own thoughts or your own beliefe. If like takinga Risk??? its ok. Its entrepreneurship.
    Sarwarambha parityagi bhalkti manme priyo narah…..Geeta says… but We like entreprenuership.
    Motivate yourself to the unknown moment. Strategy May differ. And Yes there is a winning strategy.
    You are not “Just” Body or your mind. Walk The talk. Try atleast. Its difficult. Yes.
    Not Impossible…..

  5. Who am I?
    Am I the body? Am I the mind? – Then why do we say – I need to control the mind or body? The I is the consciousness. Soul. Atma. Inner Being ( In the words of Sri Aurobindo).
    Basically humans have been given 2 things – intelligence and free will . To buy one so called constraint. Time.
    When you use your intelligence to perfect yourself – in all the 4 planes – ie Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual – You use a large part of your mind( which is currently under utilized – proven scientifically) to know , experience and percieve the interconnectedness of everything. When a person uses his or her intelligence at this stage for the greatest good and not just for personal gain – one has surpassed the ego – a necessary step to buy more time. When you buy infinite time – you have reached salvation.
    I is the consciousness and I on the physical plane ( ie where we live) is an integration of the 4 parts within us – the body, mind, feelings and actions which work in sync towards one direction with the inner being or soul as the master.
    I found the article on naadi extremely interesting. As a firm believer of “You can create your own reality” – a person who believes that he will see the naadi and get info – when there is no conflict within any of the 4 parts of the being – will actually manifest it.
    The ones who have a conflict do not manifest it.
    The question you might ask is – then how come that was pre decided and written down? I dont think anything was pre decided. Things are dynamic. How do we know that the writings on the palm leaves dont change? We are assuming that what ever is written on the palm leaves is constant – an unwarranted assumption. When Someone who manifests it – the living spirit creates the manifestation of the past on the palm leaves and when someone does not believe it completely from within – cannot manifest it.
    Coming to divine etc – I think this living spirit is a dreamer which has dreamed and created matter as a unique form of energy.The spirit then thought – why dont I create a co creator that can help me create a beautiful world – by dreaming things the way I do.
    So he created us – to co create with him. With an inbuilt check. Only the enlightened ones – who understand the truth AND use their power for the highest good – CAN CO CREATE with him. The highest good is refered to everywhere ( No desire – for your own self, dont focus on the results ).
    The others keep going through life cycles – till they get to that stage.
    When the entire world co creates with him – its utopia. The reason for the spirit to actually create us..:). As in the movie matrix, NEO says – A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible!!!
    We messed it up big time by placing the responsibility of our lives into pre decided “destiny”. If you truly believe there is destiny – you will manifest it and if you believe you can create your own reality – you will. Either ways – YOU ARE CREATING YOUR OWN REALITY.
    Ego – is the reason for Maya. The Maya that there is a distincition or division between me and the other. When you start seeing the interconnectedness of things, people etc – you will slowly realise that EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED – you might want to read more on Holographic Paradigmn.
    When we work or live under the influence of the ego – the law of cause and effect will work for us. When we surpass the ego and work/ live for the highest good – then this law will not be applicable – “breaking the bonds of Karma through salvation and ending the painful life on earth.”
    Maya – the illusion creates division between people and things.
    Coming to Idol worship – since everything is energy and has a frequency of a specfific vibration – different GODS stand for different frequencies. Since we are not enlightened and can think only in forms – we humans have given them a form & name.
    When we have attributed some qualities to a form and then believe that by praying we will able to manifest that frequency – we will manifest it – when the entire being within us – prays for a specific thing.
    A lot of temples seem to have the power to manifest desires – this comes from collective consciousness. When thousands believe that by praying at a specific temple will get them what they want – this will definitely happen because we have vested that power to manifest through millions of years to that particular frequency in that form at that particular location.
    When you believe that a pariharam will happen when you go to the temple – it will – by the messages you get when you are there. If you really introspect when you are there – you will get the messages.
    If you believe that you will get the messages anywhere else – you will get them dependent on how powerful your intention is.
    So the law of attraction works at a deeper level than just with making money.
    I am an independent thinker and philosopher – have been looking for these answers for many years & am still a seeker – many of these things came me to as dreams, flashes when I read something and things are getting together to fit the puzzle inside my head.
    As an ardent follower of Sri Aurobindo and a practising Reiki healer – I am “lucky” ( must I say – have the ability to manifest after years of questioning and seeking ) to get these “flashes” in my meditations and also very lucky to have Gurus who have helped me get back onto this path after a decade of meandering elsewhere and have asked me to follow my own path.
    wonderful site and blog – will keep coming back to read more. Thanks a lot!

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