I Am

Equilibs's picture

Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

a comment I wrote to lalo's question:
What the fuck does Nisargadatta mean by "I Am"?


The answer is very simple
and should have been the most obvious, unless the most obvious wasn't hidden from the eyes of the unawared.

I am, is actually just that...I am.
and it is the recognition of yourself.

it's written everywhere that the thing that we're not aware of is Ourselves. we don't see ourselves, we don't know ourselves, and we're not Ourselves.

if you didn't see your father for lets say 10 years...at the moment you'll meet him...you will shout...Daddy!
it will happen immediately in the moment you recognize him.

That's also what happens when you get to meet yourself
as obscure as it may sound
the recognition of consciousness with and in itself is expressed, not by "Daddy" ;) but with 'I am'.

It is the Action of being.

I never read any of Nisargadatta's books
and never liked the title "I am that"...always thought that the 'that' addition is spoiling the uncompromisable direction of "I am".

repeating "I am" in one's mind anyhow doesn't really imitates the real thing, but any sincere practice of "I am" awareness, even if questional, immediately invokes a certain awareness to one's self.
the awareness energy is turning over to yourself at once
and it may also be noticed that that's the opposite direction of the regular mind which is usually pointed Outside...to the external, instead of to the internal.

so the I am practice is pointing directly to the core
and that's why I believe he used it as his main practice.

Gurdjieff also mentioned and used 'I am' quite a lot
he wrote somewhere that when an aware man is referring himself...a rolling Thunder of 'I am' is being expressed in the center of his being.

and there's also his famous quote: "life is real only then when I am"

mika's picture

I Am is not I


A subject cannot be aware of itself. You cannot be aware of your self, otherwise see who is that is aware and minimize to it.

By "I Am" Nisargadatta didn't mean "I". It is something else which is not involved with awareness but rather with the opposite - with complete non awareness - Just being without being aware of anything, just a center.

This state is hard to describe and therefore the confusion. The question of lalo is not naive and simple at all. It is THE question.

Gurdieff in "remember yourself" referred to something else than Nisargadatta's "I Am" - it is more similar to Ramana's Self Enquiry, constantly being aware of the "I Thought"/

I would recommend you to read "I Am That". It is available for free download at the bottom of Nisargadatta Maharaj's profile here.


mika | Fri, 06/19/2009 - 08:46
Equilibs's picture


I did mean every single word I wrote the previous reply

thanks for your opinion.
Loves back

Equilibs | Fri, 06/19/2009 - 08:52
silencio's picture

no object, no subject

I think both of you say more or less the same.

"I Am" is not "I" nor the "I thought" nor the sense of "I" nor the self.

"I Am" is being without objects and even without a subject, no doer, no center, no referential point, no perspective. Just impersonal being.

For the mind is sounds radical and absurd. Mind's logic is based on subject-object relationships.

Note again: "I Am" is not "I" or the sense of "I", it is the state, the relationship between subject and object but without the subject and the object which in reality do not really exist.

"I Am" can be experienced in advanced stages of the practice of Self Enquiry.

silencio | Fri, 06/19/2009 - 20:11
Equilibs's picture

HI silencio

thanks a lot for your reply.

my point of view, or what I was trying to say in the post is abit different than what you describe.

of course I never said that 'I am' is 'I' or the "I thought' etc.
I really did mean the things as written in the post...it's just too hard to avoid interpertating, and maybe that's our main problem in relating to the world in the first place, and that's why we don't experience things just as they are and falling to the closed trap of our minds.

to my understanding and experience, being aware, does not implement being without object's and subjects at all. and I really don't like the teachings that gives that as a direction!

the thing is that being aware, (awake, enlightend...) is a state in which includes an object (or many) and a subject but...not on the same level! (the object is in a lower level than the subject).

being in 'I am' state absolutely implement a personal being, maybe even more personal than one can even imagine. but not the regular ego personality that we use to percept most of the time.
it is a true 'I' and that 'I' exist (am)...and being recognised...(and here comes the hard part...) by itself!
for there is only One being, one true person, which present in everything and contain everything...the Vedas calls it Hatman. not that it matter (how they call it, for it has no name) but that the only thing that exist.

It's existance and self recognition is leveled in a much higher level than our regular perception does, but it doesn't come in contradiction with the world of objects...on the contrary...it contains it! this creation.

therefore being that high state of awarenes is being aware to yourself, your one and only (real, for there are many false ones) self, which includes and nourishes all the objects of this creation, including our bodies planets and galaxies.

awakening is the first moment when all that exist get's its true meaning...(not cancelled!) and the completeness of the world and creation is revealed.

and all this is coming true in a human that achieve completeness in himself. a unification of his body mind and soul.


that 'I' issue is one of the hardest to understand and one of the most contraversal, due to the presence of several aperantly contradictive agendas regarding it.
my experience brought me to some unique understandigs regarding the 'I' matter that may pour some light on the subject...(such as where did the I came from in the first place? and what is that deep human need of identity that controlls our lives?)

I will soon write a post dedicated to that.

(please feel free to continue this conversation though ;)

Equilibs | Fri, 06/19/2009 - 21:37
davids's picture

Tat Tvam Asi

You mix between concepts -

Being aware and "I Am" are two different things. "I Am" is the substratum of consciousness, not an aspect of being aware. And there is nothing personal in it (similar a bit to the lack of any identity in no mind). Just try it and you will see.

Regarding "I Am That" in the original post - I would recommend you not to let your interpretations or rather misinterpretations of names and concepts direct you, especially when they come from a different culture and language which we may not have full command and therefore are based naturally on our assumptions and lack of understanding of the context -

"I Am That" is a famous expression which is the translation of the well-known expression in Sanskrit "Tat Tvam Asi" in which "That" means all, the Supreme Reality. This is the context to which Nisargadatta refers to and it is vitally important -

"I Am" is just a means, not a goal (otherwise we were just doing mental acrobatics). You peel the unnecessary and illusory subject, objects, personal identity in being as a means towards a union without duality with whatever is, with the supreme reality. This is the essence which adds the metaphysical aspect. This is the crucial importance of the "That".

davids | Sat, 06/20/2009 - 09:19
Equilibs's picture

Hi Davids

I really don't think that you've been reading carefully my replies, or else my English is worst than I thought.

first I like to thank you for the input about the hidden meaning of "I am that" which wans't known to me. according to that new meaning (in which 'that' represent everything) I do accept it. although i'm alwais against sayings that may mislead someone and demands an extra specifik knowledge in order to be understood. reality is not like that.

now..either there is some severe missunderstanding between us...or we just know other things and or totaly dissagree with each other.

I have no intention to repeat all that is already written so here are some emphesized points in contradiction to what you wrote in your reply:

to my experience and understanding being awake (Budha = the awaken)is being (fully)aware and it IS feeling I am (that) and this is the most personal thing that can be.
it is you that reduces what i'm saying to the level of ordinary being and practicing in one's mind the expression "I am", not me. I mean it in it's absolute factual realisation.

about different coultures and stuff...i'm familliar with budhist (among other) concepts for quite a long time and I have a lot of criticism on it. lets say...that my moto is, if your concept have different meaning than the meaning of the words you use to express them, keep it for yourselves, or anyway don't throw it to the massES!...you create negative carma this way! ;)

About "I am" as a mean, here is where you mix up...the practice "I am" which is limited to the level of the practicer and the absolute non-dual union of all there is, which is also "I am" (which means at this level...I am everything, or everything is me. still it is 'I am'!)

and if there wasn't anythig personal in this...it was expressed by just "everything" or "conscious".
the 'I'...makes it a personal experience. intimate. Loving. united. and non dual.

as said before...I will write a post soon (probably next week) about the 'I', identity, and the mechanics behind it as I understand them.

Equilibs | Sat, 06/20/2009 - 11:14
Quantum's picture

I am "THAT"

"...never liked the title "I am that"...always thought that the 'that' addition is spoiling the uncompromisable direction of "I am". "

That's what I thought. And I have not read the book yet either.

On the other hand, perhaps he may have intended to say something similiar but just as ambiguous, "I AM That I AM", but ran out of space on the page, or got distracted. Or, no really sure. But the "That" addition certainly confuses me.

As for me, who am I? I am my ego, of course. Posessed entirely by my mind and my ego. So what?

I haven't found any one less posessed than I, so I figure I pretty much don't stand out.

Quantum | Mon, 10/26/2009 - 23:26