I Am or I want?

Leon's picture

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Moses and the Burning Bush.jpg

"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me..."

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." Ex 20:2, 17.

There is a divine mystery hinted at in the 10 Commandments- and that is, only God has the absolute ownership of the first person pronoun- I. We each may say " i " as we have been given individual existence and have self-consciousness. We are aware that we exist, that we are. But this i is relative to the Absolute I that is God. In fact, that we exist at all is because of God. We may say, "Of course! God created us." And you'd be right. However, exactly what is creation is the question- and that's not the current topic. But, insofar as we exist, God is our very existence, He is Being, He is our beingness. As it's written:

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being" Acts 17:28a.

The divine Being is the very nature of God. As He introduced Himself to Moses at the Burning Bush:

"I AM THAT I AM" Ex 3:14.

He is Pure non-delimited Being. This is to say that God Is, but that 'what' He is escapes all definition, all naming, all description or even doctrine. For to name Him is to limit Him. If we say, "God is thus and so, this and that" we've defined Him, and as such have delimited Him. And, if God can be limited, than He is no longer Infinite, but finite, and would then be no better than the gods of the Greeks, and the Romans.

This is what underlies the 10 Commandments- "I Am" v.s. "thou shalt not". I Am is obedience to the Law, and "i want" is the breaking of the Law. Please be careful here. It's easy to fall into religious conditioning. Just mention "The 10 Commandments" and all kinds of religious ideas arise in your minds- the conditioning of religion, childhood memories, upbringing, and cultural norms. Let's be plain here, if we think that the 10 Commandments is about keeping a set of rules and regulations, or even about observing some 'moral code'- we miss the whole point. Yes, of course the Law is moral, and to be in disobedience to the Law is immoral- but it's not so because we're either in obedience or disobedience toward the letter- but because we're either in alignment with, or in contradiction toward the very nature of God, which is Love (Mt 22:37-39; 1Jn 4:8, 16). Therefor to love is to keep the Commandments, because God is Love- and the Commandments are simply expressions of His nature. The opposite then of keeping the Commandments is selfishness. To lie to others, to steal, to bear false witness, to commit adultery with another's wife, or to covet are all manifestations of selfishness, just as keeping the Law is to manifest Love. Thus we have juxtaposed love and selfishness. Love is God's nature, God's I, and selfishness is our ego-self, our i. And this is truly what's at the bottom of the list in the 10 Commandments, is covetousness- which is the exerting of the created i, the selfish i, the ego-self.

This then is the crux of the matter: there are two I's in opposition to each other, one is Absolute and Real, and the other is relative and unreal insofar as it is non-existent in itself, and according to the illusion of independent existence. Therefore it is imperative that we lose this i we call ourselves, this ego. Why? Because whether in relationship with, and surrender to God, or else in relation to ourselves, we must uncover the True Nature, the Real I, in order to be free from the law- in terms of "do this, don't do that", in terms of seeking ourselves, living for our selves, being selfish or loving selflessly. This is what Christ called His followers to:

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mt 16:24-26.

Here we're called to deny ourselves, our self. And the Greek word here for 'life' is actually the word for 'soul', or self. The word for life (if translated from Gk- 'psuche') would be identical to the word self, or soul- and thus can be interchanged so as to say, "For whosoever will save his [self] shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his [self] for my sake shall find it." If we wish to know who we really are, our authentic self- we must die to the self we think we are, our illusory self. You are not your career, your financial portfolio, your athletic prowess, your friends' (or enemies') opinions of you, nor are you your past, or possible future. Behind your i is the I. To find out who your real or authentic i is, it can only be known in the denying of your false i, your false-self. In dying to that i, you'll learn of your authentic self in God, in the True I. When you learn what is the shadow-self, you'll then learn the authentic self. This is not to say that you'll disappear all together. There will always be an I-Thou relationship, but this i which you truly are can only be known in it's Oneness and Identity with the True I. As God was fully known in a man, so also can man be fully known only in God.


joejo's picture

Thanks that was great

That was truly great stuff. Would like to hear more of it regarding Christian mysticism

joejo | Sun, 01/30/2011 - 01:59
Leon's picture

Stay Tuned

You're welcome.

Stay tuned, there will be more soon- on the way.

Be blessed.

Leon | Sun, 01/30/2011 - 03:47
Quantum's picture

Great stuff indeed....

...yet my burning question of late is,

How do you apply any of this while you're driving to work in the morning? Or while sitting in traffic on the way home? Or, during a meeting?

What is it good for, besides sounding good to talk about?

Quantum | Sun, 01/30/2011 - 06:46
Leon's picture

Practical Application

To take your examples:

While driving to work, someone cuts you off in traffic- if you're in that moment caught up in the self-made dream, you might overly identify (i-dentify) with what arose in Consciousness, and flip the guy off, or cuss, or become angry. But, if while driving to work, abiding in the Self, conscious of I Am, you'll see the car cutting you off, acknowledge it, respond to it as is natural (controlling your car), but you'll not identify with it. You'll continue focusing on God as Self, or God as Other- and simply be in the moment in unbroken realization or fellowship.

During a meeting, often there are a lot of 'power plays' or ego's fighting for control or there may be policy changes that may be unpopular, affecting one's bottom line, or their work environment, etc... Any of these phenomenon may be mis-identified with, taken 'personally', and thus reacted to from the position of the little-i, or the ego-self. This may come off in a number of ways, taking things too personally, anger, trying to defend yourself, establish yourself, put the other guy/gal down, etc... But again, as was true in the driving scenario, when one abides as I Am, these things will arise, but because 'you' have no vested interest, you merely observe or witness the transactions, interactions, policy changes, etc, and you will also witness 'Quantum's' involvement, responsibilities, etc arise. You'll be in the best position to respond with utmost clarity and quickness of mind and intelligence, because your thinking won't be clouded over with the self, and the emotions that arise with that. Instead, you'll be far more intuitive, and sharper. Everything will come about naturally. And, one's purpose and priorities being at work will be far different than someone whose trying to survive in a "dog-eat-dog" environment. One's days too, will be less stressful. There still will be stress, problems, etc, but you'll witness these arise, and respond (rather than react) to them naturally, in peace, love, and intelligence or wisdom.

Does this answer your questions?

Leon | Sun, 01/30/2011 - 20:09
bonya basu's picture

Good post.....

Very good post!!!!....bigger I and smaller i.....
Always these two I...i...act through us....one is from within...other is from intellect(brain)....Choice left to us which one we have to opt...

bonya basu | Sun, 01/30/2011 - 09:24
Leon's picture

Thank You.

Thanks for the comment.

Yes, always our choice. There are two ways we can do this in the moment:

1. Discrimination - whereby we choose to say, "neti-neti", not this, not this. I am not that, or I am not the body nor the mind, etc... We choose not to identify with the circumstances as to be caught up in the ego's dream. But seeing all things just as they are, we respond correctly, or not respond, depending on the context.

2. Samadhi - Rather than being a state that overcomes us, we may choose to in the moment, focus on the Presence of I Am, and be That. Our focus is beyond the phenomenon arising in the moment, and is on Being Itself. If we pray or follow a religious path, our focus too, can be on God as we understand Him. This may help us to focus (as it's more difficult to focus on an abstract idea), and it also helps us to open up our heart.

Wishing you peace.

Leon | Sun, 01/30/2011 - 20:24
Quantum's picture

"Our focus is beyond the

"Our focus is beyond the phenomenon arising in the moment, and is on Being Itself."

A book I read, "Practicing His Presence", is a collection of letters--one from a Brother Lawrence, another from a 20th century minister. Both describe their experiences with their endeavor to keep God constantly in mind 24/7, every moment of every day. The letters from Brother Lawrence are difficult to read due to writing style and constant references to "unworthy this, unworthy that" and "sinner this, and sinner that."

The letters from the 20th century Minister seem more straightforward, easy to read, and without all that "sinner" stuff.

What stands for me from both of them is how they both say that things just seem to work out and flow for them without much effort on their part when they successfully and constantly keep their minds fully focused on God for extended periods of time. It's as if, by magic, events, circumstance, situations just seem to flow well for them.

This is a benefit I strive for. Effortless ease, and flow. Coincidences. And all that jazz. Maybe that's what is meant by "Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you." If so, then constant focus and attention on what you describe above (which I quoted) is well worth the effort.

"If we pray or follow a religious path, our focus too, can be on God as we understand Him. This may help us to focus (as it's more difficult to focus on an abstract idea)..."

True. I often wondered why religions created a person they named "God", or why some traditions focus their attention on a person they call "Jesus." You describe well the mental necessity for a subject of focus because, yes, indeed I for one have difficulty keeping my mortal attention on some vague abstraction. No matter how hard I try, the notion of "Braham" brings to mind some physical space that contains all. And thinking of God brings to mind some old Man with a white beard, long white hair, in a white robe, with a rope for a belt, wearing sandals, and living in the Sky somewhere.

Yet, "Being" while perhaps the most perfect, at least in english linguistics, and unlimited description of the infinite is also difficult for me to commune with. Hence, I commune with "God" and feel God's presence, while.. okay, forgiving myself for thinking of that old man with the white beard and sandals.

"and it also helps us to open up our heart."

Glad you mentioned that. Because you can theosophise, philosophise, pontificate, etc, with the tongue of angels, but without love, it is all a noisy gong. You can even practice Magic, sorcery, and Siddhis, psychic powers all you want, but at the end of the day there are three things that last: Faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.


Pax Domini.

PS: You come across as a cool guy. Your writings, from Christian Mysticism, are what I was looking for for some time. You have a powerful intellect. Keep your heart and love flowing. Love and Peace.

Quantum | Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:07
Leon's picture

Practicing His Presence

Yes, Brother Lawrence's book was a powerful tool in my life at the time I read it. And we're reminded of the injunction (in-junction) to "pray without ceasing" (1Thess 15:17), and as such is a constant theme in the Philokalia, or the "Way of the Pilgrim", classics of the Eastern Orthodox, or Hesychast Traditions.

That, too, is my goal- to be completely, or constantly focused on Him throughout the day- whether it's God as Self, or as Other. And, I agree, one's day definitely flows smoother, more peaceful, more joyful. And, even when problems do arise, they're easier to handle, deal with, and a lot less stressful. One can focus in the present moment, and be open to how the mind was created to handle stressful issues, with answers arising, and a sharper rational-mind, as that's needed.

As far as 'God' bringing up an image of an bearded old man- this may be a reason for the Incarnation of Christ, because He gave us a concrete image, one like ourselves (as it is indeed our ideal self) whereby we may focus. Remember when Philip asked Christ, "Lord, show us the Father" ? Christ's answer was that when one has 'seen' Him, they've seen the Father (John 11:8-10). Christ helps us to focus on God, even as Self, for Christ is within us, as we're in Him. His purpose was to bring down deity to us, so that we might be raised up as humanity to Him.

I appreciate your reference to 1Cor 13, and Amen to that.

I also thank you for your kind words.

Be blessed in the Light of Christ.

Leon | Mon, 01/31/2011 - 17:41
Quantum's picture


Amen Brother. Amen.

I leave what you wrote above in its purity without further commentary on any of your lines.

May you experience the depth behind the words your wrote.

Now that we've gone beyond words, intellect, it might be a good time for a walk.

Taking my walks, I feel God's presence.

Simply sitting, alone, outside in the back yard, with a cup of coffee, in the morning, say on an early Saturday in the summer, looking at the green leaves, and the trees, listening to the birds, sitting quietly...I feel God's presence.

Washing dishes late in the evening after everyone is asleep, say on a Friday night, I feel calm, and I feel the peace of God's presence.

Looking out the window at the trees far off, while doing dishes in the morning, I sometimes feel God's presence.

When the sky is gray, not too cold, drizzling, or even raining, I feel at peace.

May you abide in the peace of Christ.

Now that we've gone past words, past intellect, nonetheless, here are some words I want to share, that raise my Spirit when I read them. I hope they are a blessing to you also.

(By the way, a strength I find in Christianity that I do not find in other modalities is it's active love. Note, the soup kitchens, St. Vincent De Paul, Hospitals, Catholic Relief Services--sort of like a Red Cross in a religious setting. I don't find that in other systems.

Ref: Matthew 25:35-40, add on Matthew 7:22)

That said, here are words I want to share that raise my spirit, and yes, inspire me to want to stop my car on a busy highway to help an old lady or an old man, who might happen to have a flat, out of love, compassion, or at worst pity:

Be strong in love, O heart of mine!
Live not for self alone,
But find, in blessing other lives,
Completeness for thine own.
Seek every hungering heart to feed,
Each saddened heart to cheer;
And when stern justice stands aloof,
In pity though draw near.
Kind, loving words, and helping hands
Have won more souls for Heaven
Than all the dogmas and the creeds
By priests and sages given.....



Holy Spirit, Lord of Light!
From your pure celestial height,
Your pure beaming radiance give.

Come, Father of the poor!
Com, with treasure that endure:
Come, you light of all who live!

You, of all consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Most refreshing peace bestow:

You in toil are comfort sweet;
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, light divine!
Visit now this heart of mind,
And my inmost being fill:

When you take your grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All our good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds – our strength renew,
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Grant to us who evermore
You confess and you adore
Your sacred sevenfold gift.

Give us comfort when we die;
Give us life with you on high
Give us joys that never end.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit , and they shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that all my thoughts may be holy;
Act in me, Holy Spirit, that my work may also be holy:
Fill my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy;
Strenghten me, Holy Spirit, that I may ever remain holy;
Guard me always, Holy Spirit, that I may ever remain holy;
Preserve me, Holy Spirit, that my body may remain your dwelling;

In my last hour call me, Holy Spirit to
Enjoy the Holiness of Heaven.


I share these with you because while you have a very very powerful intellect, your heart is in the right place. May you feel the Peace of God and savor the delight of his Presence in your quiet moments. (When taking a walk, enjoying a little quiet and solitude feel the words, "Here I am Lord." May kindness be within you and expressed about you.)

A note on a door in a friends Dormitory ages ago:
"If you do not see God in the face of the next person you meet, don't bother looking for Him anywhere else."

Quantum | Mon, 01/31/2011 - 21:43
Leon's picture


Amen. Wonderful words, and a kind consolation and exhortation. Yes, Presence is what it's all about, God's Presence. And heart, too, so we can enjoy His Presence.

As you're words suggest, it is all too easy to be "intellectual" and yet have no heart for the very things one says. A verse I'v been 'meditating' on lately is- "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" - Prov 4. I believe the Hesychasts call it "watchfulness"- but our heart is something we must watch over, cultivate, and keep 'weed free'. This is a revelation not to let go of- as the world seeks to steal our hearts at all times. Thank you, God, for your keeping grace. I appreciate the prayers you shared above, powerful.

I agree that the Christian revelation is in the forefront of "charity work" the world over. The compassion of Christ, His hands on approach toward the sick, His practical efforts to relive (and cure) suffering is something which the Body of Christ continues to this day. And He certainly gives us opportunities, right? A person in need, a situation that requires our compassion, our intervention, our love.

Thank you, brother, for sharing your wisdom and your love. God bless you, keep you, and cause His Face to shine on you, and give you peace.

In Jesus' name,


Leon | Tue, 02/01/2011 - 05:14
bonya basu's picture

Thank you.......

Thank you Quantum for sharing these words....it really raises the spirit....give peace to the mind!!!

bonya basu | Tue, 02/01/2011 - 16:30