Questioner: Hey how’s it going? Ok so I’ve been doing some inquiry and I’m just not convinced on the “I’m not the body and mind” and I feel like that’s holding me back from progressing. Now individually I can say, “I’m” not the body, I know the body is of itself and runs itself, individually I can even say I know “I” am not my thoughts, since “I” don’t really control my thoughts. I don’t control what thoughts appear and disappear. But with all that, I’m just thinking why can’t “I” be the sum of all of that?
Agnisattva: Good question. There is a Buddhist perspective that what we are is simply a combination of the five aggregates and there is no permanent existing self.
Hence, Buddhist meditation and inquiry is geared at discovering this “no-self” and therefore have an understanding and experience of “the void” or “emptiness.” The hindu view (advaita vedanta) states that there is a permanent everlasting presences called the Self that is always there for it is aware of all the changes of the world itself being unchanged. Neither perspective truly matters.
It seems that you continue to allow your rational mind to guide your inquiry, and wish to have all this make sense to you. Yet, how can this universe, in all its complexities, make sense to our feeble human minds? To truly begin to crack this open let me recommend dropping the need to figure this all out. Simply allow yourself to rest within your Silence.
Only the mind wants answers. Does the silence need answers? Is the presence asking these questions? To simply drop the urge to figure it all out and just allow yourself to dive inward will begin to shake up the foundation that keeps you seemingly bound.
For if the mind is no longer employed the task to solve the mysteries of Life,
what else can it do but dissolve back into the silence from whence it came…
Questioner: Yeah seems this topic is an important one. So is self inquiry possible without thoughts and the mind? And is there benefits to inquire using thoughts? And are you suggesting just sitting in silence with no expectations?
Agnisattva: Self inquiry is to ask the question, to inquiry into the nature of your being. Yet, after the initial questioning has been done we now must listen to the answer. And this answer is heard in Silence.
For this is the language of Truth. Not silence as in quietude, but silence that is beyond the ideas of silence or noise. What do you expect will happen with this inquiry? What do you want to happen?
Even if you got what your mind is expecting would it last? If you attain something, then you can also lose it. Yet this journey is to discover what is already here. And to do so we must allow ourselves to settle into where we already stand.
Questioner: Well, I began the inquiry initially with just what’s is ego or what is “I”. But like I said one of my first thoughts was why can’t all of me be “I”? And I couldn’t really go much further than that. I think the “I” that is so keen on searching and figuring something out is the problem and I can’t un-identify from that.
Agnisattva: The mind will never figure this out, the “I” will never “get it.” This “I” is dissolved back into IT.
The mere fact that you are aware of where your sense of identity is being placed shows that you are not your identity. You are aware of this identification.
You are also aware of the thoughts you have about this identification. One thought is having thoughts about another thought. It’s all just the mind’s play. But the magnificence of it all is that it is all happening before you! No thought can define you for without you no thought could even arise.
“Why can’t it all be me?”
Who would be aware of it then? If you met your “true self” who would the “you” be who met this self? This issue comes because you are still trying to discover truth as an object. It is not an object. Its You.
Questioner: Isn’t it possible that I am the awareness and the thoughts as well? And the feelings and emotions that come with it all? I wouldn’t say I am this thought as I don’t identify with thoughts but aren’t they mine? And same with the body, I wouldn’t exactly say that I am this body but isn’t it my body?
Agnisattva: If it was true that you were all your thoughts together, and, as you propose, awareness plus thoughts is what you are then how has that helped you?
Would knowing this free you from the reign of the mind? Would knowing this reveal to you that immortal being that you are?
Still you play with thoughts and ideas when what’s being pointed to here is that which is beyond all thoughts and ideas. If it was only a matter of thinking yourself to a correct answer all the philosophers throughout the ages would have been sages. What would happen if you let it all go?
Drop the need to have this figured out. If you take this leap into this unknown space you will find that your questions dissolve. Not because they get answered, but because the questioner itself is seen for what it is: just another thought.
The one asking the question is just another thought, nothing more. And to try and keep itself alive it is positing that thoughts is what it is. You must move cautiously when listening to the thoughts that cycle in the mind.
I tell you all this in this manner because I know this road well. I’ve studied both western and Eastern philosophical systems both in an academic setting and intensively on my own and I will say that this rational way of approaching will only bring you so far. Once this need to figure it all out is dropped, once this urge to have the answers is seen though, the great cosmic joke is heard.
Questioner: Well with my proposition as it is, I don’t need to be freed from my mind, I am accepting it as part of me, that way I can take care of it. My struggle is between accepting my proposition or trying to uncover something deeper. Accepting my proposition IS a type of letting go because it’s something that makes sense to me. It’s the other route that’s giving me trouble because it’s then that I struggle against my own mind and question everything and do not know what to believe.
Agnisattva: When you have nothing left to believe, or urge to have something to believe in, there is freedom.
At the end of the day you must walk the path you feel called to. I can only share what and how my path has unfolded.
Questioner: That’s what I’ll do to the best of my abilities. I appreciate your wisdom as always. I don’t have it all figured out so I’m sure my path still has unfolding to do haha