How Can We Define Ourselves?Our self is not known by anything other than its own self.
So you are saying that we are/get ourselves defined by our apparent suffering because when I am not suffering I am clearly not myself at all?
When I have the lightening quick thought to choose the suffering then I am defining who and what I am all about by my own authority not the
The “I/ego” gets its way by creating in real time a scenerio of suffering and then “I/ego” suffers because of it. Consciousness just gets waybacked out somewhere and loses it’s being until the “I/ego” has it’s way with you. Tolle calls it the pain body.
How come just knowing this is not enough and it takes so long? ACIM says purification is necessary? Is the purification the suffering, then it says that you can be a happy learner or a suffering learner. What is a happy learner? I wouldn’t know what that looks like but I actually feel pretty good today. Dude you kinda rock with this stuff.
Keith: So you are saying Rupert, that we are/get ourselves defined by our apparent suffering because when I am not suffering I am clearly not myself at all?
Rupert: On the contrary, there are many moments when we are not suffering and at those times we are still ourselves. In other words, our self (whatever that is) is present both when there is suffering and when there is not. Therefore we can not be defined by our suffering because suffering is not always present and we are!
And to take your question further, we might ask, “How then can we define ourselves?” Whatever qualities we use to define our self must be present whenever we are present.
So, look in your own experience and ask yourself what qualities are inseparable from the experience of yourself. What do we refer to when we say ‘I?’
The first one is obviously Presence. ‘I, by definition, am.’ There is Being.
Now in order to be able to say from experience, ‘I am,’ we must know that ‘I am,’ that is, we must know our own Being. In other words, to be sure that ‘I am’ (and we are sure that ‘I am’) we must know it. So, knowing is also inherent in or inseparable from ‘I.’
Therefore ‘I’ is both Knowing and Present. What else can we say about it?
Normally we add all kinds of accretions to this Knowing Presence. We assign it a location, a colour, a shape, an age, an gender, a size, beliefs, abilities, characteristics etc. However, all these are intermittent and as ‘I’ is not intermittent, they cannot be qualities that are inherent in our self.
If we look again at this experience of our self, there are other things we can say. For instance, whilst it is undoubtedly knowing and present, we have never experienced its appearance, disappearance, birth, death or change because we, as Knowing Presence, would have to be there, present and knowing, in order to register such an experience. Therefore ever-presence, birthless, deathless and changeless are qualities of our self.
Our self is not known by anything other than its own self. It is ‘I’ that knows that ‘I am.’ The self knows itself by itself. It does not need any other agent, such as a mind or a body, to know itself. Therefore ‘I’ is self-knowing or self-luminous.
Because ‘I’ is the only ‘thing’ that knows itself, it is its own evidence. It cannot be proven by anything other than its own experience of itself.
‘I,’ Knowing Presence, being present and knowing but without objective qualities, cannot move, change or become anything other than what it always already is.
It cannot increase or diminish. Nothing can be added to it or removed from it. It is fullness itself and is therefore known as Happiness or Fulfilment.
It cannot be disturbed, because only an apparent object can be disturbed and it therefore knows itself as Peace.
When any apparent object appears, the object is found to be made only out of Knowing Presence. It gives its own substance intimately and utterly to every appearance. For this reason it is known as Love.
Although it is always itself it can take all possible apparent forms, including the form of ignorance, and freedom is therefore inherent within it.
All these qualities may seem to imply that ‘I’ is one thing and not another - for instance that it is limitless rather then limited - and from an intellectual point of view some may argue that this is an expression of duality. It is not!
These qualities, such as changeless, birthless, deathless, ever-presence etc., are given only in response to the implicit belief some of us have that ‘I’ changes, is born, dies, disappears etc.
If we superimpose no qualities on ‘I’ such as objective, limited, located, birth, death, change, then there is no need to counter this with qualities such as non-objective, unlimited, unlocated, birthless, deathless etc.
If we superimpose no qualities onto Presence, there is no need to define it in a any way. We simply leave it free to be what it is, knowing and being its own self alone, beyond all such defining qualities such as limited or unlimited, changing or unchanging etc.
With warm wishes,