Why I am not the body...

Omkaradatta's picture



Average: 4 (8 votes)

It's really very easy to see that I am not the body. First off, am I able to trust the simple, the easy, the obvious? Can I really get interested in this inquiry, go deeply into it, see where it leads?

Suppose I'm sitting on the couch, watching TV.

I can see/perceive the TV set. Therefore, I am not the TV set.

Closer in to me, I can see/perceive the coffee table. Therefore, I am not the coffee table.

Even closer in, I can see/perceive the couch the body is sitting on. Therefore, I am not the couch.

Even closer, I can see/perceive the body, sitting on the couch. Therefore, I am not the body.

We can continue this inquiry...

I can also see/perceive the thoughts and personal history. Therefore, I am not the thoughts and personal history.

I can sit in silence for some time every day and realize this truth... that I am not the body and not the mind. Or, I can even do this inquiry while at the bus stop, or in the marketplace.

What is myself? That which remains when I've realized that I can't be all these other things. I am not a thing but a Presence, contained in which is the body and the thoughts. But I cannot point to this... I can only BE this, free of attachment to the body and mind.

Nisargadatta Maharaj: Look at yourself in total silence, do not describe yourself. Look at the being you believe you are and remember -- you are not what you see.

'This I am not -- what am I?' is the movement of self-enquiry. There are no other means to liberation, all means delay. Resolutely reject what you are not, till the real Self emerges in its glorious nothingness, its 'not-a-thingness.'



Omkaradatta's picture

Three stars...

Somebody rated this post three stars. Fair enough, but try this inquiry regularly, give it an honest shot. I think you will find the inquiry itself, when stuck with, worth six stars ;-).

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 14:37
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

Why?

Why are we not what what we see?
How do I know I am not the tree I see? How do I know I am not the image I see in the mirror?

Who determined that We cannot be what we perceive?

Just honest questions, not smart-assed-ness.

thanks

Michaelji

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:01
Omkaradatta's picture

It's hard to explain...

It's hard to explain, but the one looking cannot be what's being looked at.

Imagine a cup looking at 'itself'. Could it? It can *be* itself, but how could it look at itself?

The very term 'itself' or 'myself' seems here like ignorance. We run the words "my self" together, as though running these words together means that there is a 'myself' rather than a 'self' being owned by ('my') the real Self.

"Myself" = "my self" = (seer seeing) my 'self' (not really a self, but a body, or history that isn't that which is seeing it).

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:15
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

what about a mirror?

"It's hard to explain, but the one looking cannot be what's being looked at.

Imagine a cup looking at 'itself'. Could it? It can *be* itself, but how could it look at itself?"

It could if it had eyes and mirror. And what if the seer could not see? What would he been then?

Michaelji Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:17
happy's picture

a very good question

This is a very good and fundamental question you ask (i.e. why actually what I perceive cannot be me?) which does not have a trivial logic-based answer although it looks at first that it does. The answer to this cannot be analytical but rather the strong conviction you have at some point when observing an object (whether it is a mental object or external one). You just feel it completely when you observe the object the same way you feel that the body of someone else is not you.

See the link Luna put below and also http://www.gurusfeet.com/blog/object-determines-subject and http://www.gurusfeet.com/quote/basic-difference-between-science-and-spir...

happy | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 23:11
Omkaradatta's picture

That's right...

That's why I presented this as an inquiry, although perhaps that could have been made more clear. It maybe just looks like an analytical blogging, but was intended as an exercise to be performed by the reader, doing some actual observation.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 23:20
happy's picture

important exercise

I didn't mean to imply at all that the blog is analytical. On the contrary, this is a very important exercise that should be followed continuously on and on during the daily life the same way you describe it.

It is just that before following it one must clear the underlying issue of what actually the true meaning of a subject is, what can be an I; or in other words - that whatever observed cannot be the observer. This issue is not trivial at all as we come to it with the scientific mind that does not adhere to this discrimination.

happy | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 23:34
Omkaradatta's picture

True...

The main error (from here) seems to be taking ourselves as "that which is seen" (by others) rather than "that which sees".

It's such a simple thing that it gets constantly overlooked. We are the Seer, not the seen (by other people).

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 00:07
Phroggy's picture

Why?

"Why are we not what what we see?
How do I know I am not the tree I see? How do I know I am not the image I see in the mirror?"

Hi Michael
This is an important question, not only in terms of the benefit of the realization, but because it's an excellent example of something that can and must be realized beyond the mind rather than be perceived through it. Normally, I would post a blog about it but I no longer believe anybody here but a select few have any interest at all in such matters.

We have erroneously come to accept that there is a 'me' that has a body and a mind and thinks and chooses. On the basis of this false belief, we also come to accept that the 'me' can see itself, since the body, (assumed to be 'me') is clearly visible. So, you see, we conclude that something that exists can see itself, on the basis of the false notion that there is a 'me' that is a body.

In fact, nothing that could ever exist could actually see itself, because it wouold have to be apart from itself to be able to objectively see it. That which exists becomes the subject and that which is perceived becomes an object of the subject's perception, and so there are two. It's not possible for the subject to 'get away' from itself in order to perceive itself. An example might be looking for yourself through a pair of binoculars. There's no way for you to turn the seeing back upon the seer.

This is the fundamental problem of Self realization; the Self cannot be perceived through any 'process' of perception, because to do so would cause the Self to be an object of the subject's perception. That which is seeing cannot, itself, be seen, which is why it is called Self realization. The Self is nevr perceived, it's simply realized that the Self is the seeing itself.

Phroggy | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 01:25
Omkaradatta's picture

Ooooh!

Really, really well stated, IMV. The binocular analogy is awesome :-).

I'm beginning to see why folks find this stuff so dry and analytical -- nobody seems to stick with it long enough to notice the reality of it, and corresponding 'benefits'. Nisargadatta himself noted something like this in "I Am That":

"As long as you believe only the particular to be real, conscious and happy and reject the non-dual reality as something imagined, an abstract concept, you will find me doling out concepts and abstractions. But once you have touched the real within your own being, you will find me describing what for you is the nearest and the dearest."

Doug Harding (headless.org) noted the same thing... very, very few are interested. As did J. Krishnamurti, and probably others as well.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 02:04
Phroggy's picture

~

"I'm beginning to see why folks find this stuff so dry and analytical -- nobody seems to stick with it long enough to notice the reality of it"

Yes, I think that's true, as in, not going deeply enough with it. For most, the meditations offer relaxation and mind state experiences, but I suspect very little in terms of actual insight. I found that the mind needs to be highly alert for that, which wasn't the usual case for my meditations. The techniques offered are mental processes with a goal, which may accomplish whatever experience the mind seeks, which will be irrelevant. If all these techniques are as successful as claimed, we should see illusions dropping right and left.

Insight, however, is a source of endless fascination and wonder, which is likely why I'm still 'here'. Some of it still brings tears when I 'look' as it pulls me into it's depths, and it doesn't matter how many times I talk about it. And really it's okay that others will read those words and call it mental masturbation.

Phroggy | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 04:48
Luna's picture

A tacit assumption

This does not solve much as the main mental obstacle is still only an assumption in your analysis: that whatever I observe is not me. This is where people have the difficulty, all else is just an envelope accepted by all.

If the above assumption was accepted by all then no one would have any identification with the body.

There is a good article here that deals exactly with that underlying assumption:
http://www.gurusfeet.com/blog/indeed-whatever-you-observe-cannot-be-you

Luna | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 15:07
Omkaradatta's picture

I'm not talking mental level...

Whether we accept or don't accept "whatever you observe cannot be you" is beside the point. The point is to keep observing, and so as to go beyond the mind by *realizing* on a deeper level that the body-mind / observed cannot be the observer.

If people want a shallower mental convincing first, then the post you pointed to is just fine (I didn't read it, but I accept it's a good one). But it isn't nearly enough. It has to be realized on a very deep level in order to have any effect on our well-being at all.

As I see it, the problem in spirituality (not only here) is that nobody wants to observe... people just want to read, believe (or disbelieve) and go on their merry way, living out life "business as usual". It doesn't work that way. Dedication and devotion to the simple/innocent is very rare, which is probably why awakening is rare, too.

P.S. maybe you're complaining because of the line "It's really very obvious that what I can see/perceive cannot be myself." I took that line out, fwiw.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 15:55
Phroggy's picture

~

You see Omkar's post as an analysis and his observation as an assumption, neither of which is true. It's your analysis and assumption that you see, and yes, it will not solve anything. Nobody can make you look or give you your own clarity.

The fact that "whatever I observe is not me" is actually stupidly obvious once seen, and not at all difficult to see, and so the question may be, why does it seem so difficult? Because you don't want to see it. It becomes a serious threat to what you identify as yourself, and once seen, you'll never be able to find yourself again as a physical or mental object of your perception. It may be useful to cultivate the courage to look anyway, and the faith to know it will be okay if you see. Know that you exist, and that you cannot cease.

Phroggy | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 20:29
kaput's picture

2 comments about "neti neti"

"'This I am not -- what am I?' is the movement of self-enquiry."

It is important to emphasis that this is not Ramana Maharshi's self enquiry but the classical and popular Hinduist self enquiry (neti neti) which is something else.

"There are no other means to liberation, all means delay."

First, to say that there are no other means is a somewhat amateur, baseless and factually untrue statement. Why spoil and use comparative overstatements. The value of this method can stand by its own, only the false needs the support of exclusivity claimed against some other.

Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, this method itself may have a limited transformative power in the long run. I have met quite a lot of people that seriously adopted the 'neti neti' in daily life and they didn't seem to be cast at all. Maybe it has something to do with what luna points out.

kaput | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 16:18
Omkaradatta's picture

Do u realize who you're discussing with? ;-)

The statements above are not mine, they're Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's. You can take it up with him, if he can hear you from wherever he is (chuckling). Maybe his utterances are somewhat amateur, baseless and factually untrue -- sadly, you missed the chance to tell him 'in person' ;-). You could always go to India and deify/god-ify his body's living quarters, as lots of seekers are currently doing.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 16:30
kaput's picture

I already did :-)

I did visit Maharaj's home in Mumbay in Khetwadi lane :-) (what an experience!) and I have a lot of respect to this unique sage but I stand behind my words.

I bet the above quote was taken from "I Am That" and not from the later books which reflect a more mature Maharaj (yes he can :-) although he is realized)...

kaput | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 17:06
Omkaradatta's picture

Great...

> I did visit Maharaj's home in Mumbay in Khetwadi lane :-) > (what an experience!)

Great... another memory to add to a growing collection. Did you realize the Self by this visit, or are you realizing a "self-congratulations" instead? :-p.

People just don't understand, and stay restless and on the move until the last moment, when all the nonsense is given up for the Reality within. I was there, too. It's well understood here. All I keep doing is shouting over and over on this forum "hey, I've found something! Listen! I've found something! The search is over here! I'm happy! I'm contented! Maybe I can help somehow!" and keep on getting argued with or 'corrected' or ignored. Pffft.

Enjoy the new memory of the inside of a building... it's great ego-fodder, anyway. Not as great as actually having *seen* the illustrious body of the fellow-who-wasn't-his-body, but ya can't win 'em all.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 18:33
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

well...

I know we can quote famous gurus and such, Christian's quote Christ every chance they get. My source question would have to be...how do you know? Has anyone here truly experienced oneness or duality-ness or no-thing-ness? I mean we can go our feelings...but they are deceptive at times. We can go by our logic, but logic seems to change with new knowledge and knowledge is always being discovered. So I just notice that a lot of us preach our gospel truth from our high places to the ignorant folk such as me.;)
Please enlighten me, with all due respect.

Michaelji Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:10
Omkaradatta's picture

That's actually easy...

> My source question would have to be...how do you know?

That's actually easy to answer. Self-realization is the one thing that *isn't* in doubt, should it be present. Even the fact that one is alive and conscious isn't as obvious!

The ego is a mechanism that creates an eternal sense of doubt, questions and lack. Its absence is simply an empty sense of 'Knowingness', without there being anything what-so-ever to know.

It's like saying that when there's nothing to know, you know everything (because there's not a single thing to know). Thus, one is sure and confident. It's the search (for knowledge, or for anything) that creates the ever-present sense of doubt and unsureness in us, the sense that something is missing.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:22
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

Ehhh thats me...

"It's the search (for knowledge, or for anything) that creates the ever-present sense of doubt and unsureness in us."

@_o...thats me.

My question then is how does one discover self realization if self-realization is "i simply an empty sense of 'Knowingness', without there being anything what-so-ever to know." and searching for it "creates the ever-present sense of doubt and unsureness in us"? Its like using fire to make ice.

Royally confused-@_@

Michaelji Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:24
Omkaradatta's picture

Another easy one...

By surrendering or letting go all search, and just being in the Moment, as it is. It's incredibly simple (and incredibly elusive for most). The keywords are stop, surrender, let go, release, cease, be.

"There is nothing to do" is the hardest thing to realize, because you can't do it. You just stop doing and be. Nobody wants it. It can't *be* wanted, it just has to happen.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:29
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

but...

ill email you

Michaelji Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:30
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

Truth and pettiness

Why is everyone so quick to belittle another. I find it interesting that we talk about oneness and compassion and losing the ego and enlightenment and we talk like we are the owner of truth, but when someone states anything that may be contrary to what you believe, some get so quick to get defensive. Then an argument ensues by the same "enlightened" people that preach egolessness and non-attachment. We are so attached to our "truth" which all happen to vary which is starting make me think that no one knows the truth or everyone knows their own truth.

Michaelji Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:15
Omkaradatta's picture

Knowing the truth

"Everyone knows their own truth" is close enough. Find your own truth within your Heart.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:25
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture

@_o

"Everyone knows their own truth" is close enough. Find your own truth within your Heart.

My Heart..by my heart do you mean my feelings? Because they have lied to me many times

Michaelji Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 21:38
Omkaradatta's picture

No, not your feelings...

No, not your feelings, but your Being... which you may be out of touch with (or only in touch with when you have feelings).

We are outwardly-directed creatures. We pay attention to people, places and things, but never our own Being, our own existence. Just become interested in that.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 01/26/2009 - 22:19
Phroggy's picture

~

Not sure who you're referring to. It appears like you're responding to Omkar's "Great" post. Is he the petty belittling one?

Such things are often only in the 'I' of the beholder. If a mental boundary is being addressed, it typically looks 'wrong' in some way to the one experiencing the boundary. It will be dismissed in whatever way seems most accessable. Really, nothing at all can be done about that.

Phroggy | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 01:00
kaput's picture

clarifications

"Did you realize the Self by this visit?"
"People just don't understand, and stay restless and on the move until the last moment, when all the nonsense is given up for the Reality within."

Sorry to disapoint you but I don't have any objectives of the sort that you assume in the above that everyone is supposed to have. Letting go these objectives is really what makes one restful and be in the present. These objectives of realization are what bring restlessness and ego and control and are the best prescription for not being in the now but seeing the now as a means to an end (=realization). I was there too. This is the true meaning of living in the now, not vacuuming from the experiences any spirit, enjoyment, liveness, essence as "nonsense" for the sake of efficient conduct towards a set target based on an vague ignorant perception of a reported realization.

The way is more important than the destiny. The sex is more important than the aim to have children. I am happy, content, very restful and loving especially after visiting that blessed place called India that includes Maharaj's place.

I feel you approach the experience of visiting Maharaj's place from a dry analytical standpoint. You disregard the energies, the bonding, the metaphysical levels, the experience. I don't care if they are maya or not, nonsense or not, I do not classify them based on any theory, I just live them and enjoy them if they are and of course try to be careful not to get attached to them.

And by the way, there is no reality within vs. without. At some point you see that it is all the same, perceived in the same way by the same tools.

"Great... another memory to add to a growing collection."

Yes, I enjoy good memories when they appear in the now. How blessed we are, what a wonderful life we have :-)))

kaput | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 00:31
Omkaradatta's picture

You're mistaken (kaput)

"I feel you approach the experience of visiting Maharaj's place from a dry analytical standpoint. You disregard the energies, the bonding, the metaphysical levels, the experience."

You're just plain mistaken. An experience of an empty building can be had around closing time at the local drug store, for no travel fees whatsoever... and you have the chance to replenish the toilet paper, too ;-).

You don't even have to go to the store. Just stay home, sit on the couch, listen to music and enjoy an amazing depth of experience, a moving and mind-blowing journey of joy and light and peace. There's no need to go to some unusual place.

P.S. you mentioned "bonding" -- as much as this is glorified in human experience, it's still just attachment. This is really the heart of the matter: The seeking out of 'others' to fulfill oneself. Realize your Self, and the need for it is over.

> And by the way, there is no reality within
> vs. without. At some point you see that it
> is all the same, perceived in the same way
> by the same tools.

Then 'bonding' makes no sense. Who is to bond to what?

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Tue, 01/27/2009 - 01:13