All that we know about ourselves and about the world is one big conviction, I might say. It’s a Belief, a pre-conceived notion. Look within and find something of which you can be absolutely certain, something you really know and are able to prove it – not to me or to someone else, but to yourself. Be honest and open. Find something within which is not a conviction, a belief, pre-conceived, an opinion, an attitude, but something whose reality can be confirmed. The theory of the real and apparent is irrelevant here. Feel free to think that everything is real but prove it to yourself.
We have opinions and beliefs about virtually everything. Man standing in front of us is not the man in front of us, but a series of convictions, opinions, judgments, likes and dislikes, acceptances and rejections. NEVER OR ALMOST NEVER is he “the man in front of us.” If we want to be objective, WE DON’T KNOW ANYONE. We don’t even know ourselves least of all a man in front of us; our partner; our parents. We know some bits here and there, some irrelevant things about them, but nothing deeper than that. Look in the mirror, look at this character and tell him what you know about him. You know some petty facts: what he likes, what he doesn’t like, what he feels or doesn’t feel, but you know nothing substantial about him. You have convictions about him, projections, expectations but no real knowledge. Then, look at this character without any knowledge. Simply look at him. Nothing more. Soon, there will appear a feeling that you don’t know him, that objectively you know nothing about him.
What is this? What is it you are looking at? Who is this? You, or your body? What are you in this body? What do you know about this “mind” within the body? You see a confused jumble, a mish mash of all kinds of stuff, but nothing solid. You know nothing substantial about yourself. You have beliefs, opinions, attitudes, some mixed movements you call “emotions” but there is nothing permanent in you, nothing which might be a foundational knowledge of self.
What do you feel that you know about yourself? I am not asking what emotions you have, since all emotions you “have” are not yours because you can’t do anything about them. They come and go as they please. They appear, take you over, use you and leave. What do you feel behind all this? Behind the emotions coming and going? All you can feel is that you exist. That you are alive (best case scenario, for the vast majority no longer is). This is the only thing you can say about yourself with certainty. No matter whether it’s real or not, whether it came and might leave. This is the only knowledge you have of yourself.
No mantra, prayer, spiritual technique, asana, pranayama, kriya or whatever can affect this. It stands on its own, stands apart from mind and body, and no spiritual knowledge affects it. And yet, it is enabling all that you are doing, all that you are living – your body, mind, life, etc.
You know that you exist and that you are alive. Let’s not call it the “I am” since nowadays every spiritual twat imagines it knows the “I am”. It’s in vogue and each twat claims to be in the present moment at least half a day, if not more. Knowing that you exist comes only if you look at it directly. Otherwise, you don’t know even that. You have the memory of it, but memory is not knowledge. Memory is recollection, not knowledge. Precisely in this feeling that you exist there is the possibility of evolution, maturation, knowledge. The point of much dispute is whether it is possible to develop this feeling or not? Can this feeling evolve or is evolution simply an idea of the mind, unrelated to the feeling of existence? Can it be changed or is it unchangeable? These questions are the source of conflict between those who aim at transcendence VS those who aim at transformation. If your own aim and membership in either camp are not blocking you from checking for yourself, it is irrelevant who of them is right. For neither are. If you encompass this within yourself then you are the only one in the right. But being right is not the point, the point is whether you are able to use this for your progress and development. Mixing apples and oranges is apparent in these camps and various other packs. What does any of it have to do with you? Nothing. Unless you are a part of a pack or aim to be.
Awareness of your existence is the basis, the foundation of any Work possible. Without awareness of self as the one who exists you can do nothing. Clearly, you can imitate, you can be a spoke person of “I am”, as most are anyway. If you work with this feeling soon you will have answers to the above-mentioned questions. This is what God has “in-spired” in you when he created you. Fuck all those interpretations of the scriptures. Learn the meaning of words, the keys to the words, keys to the symbols and you will know what it says in there. You will know the basics that you need, you will know what works.
Being in this feeling requires daring. Dare to enter life with this feeling. Enter relationships, job, any event (or a situation, I hope you know the difference.) This Feeling needs to enrobe, encompass your mind and body. Which is not the case at the present. So, on this level, there is evolution of this feeling and work on it. If this feeling is absent, then the thing is not worth doing, living, feeling. If you can’t have this feeling with your partner, friends, at work, while doing meditation, asanas – it’s all useless. You are not there and what you are doing is of no use. Gurdjieff said, “Life is only real when I am”. It is only when you feel yourself as existence, beingness, livingness (insert your favorite spiritual pop term here) that evolution exists for you, that life exists for you – and you are this life and evolution. All else, no matter how thrilling it may be or may sound, is death. Soon you will see that people are dead. They are not there. Dead men make the world go round, get married, drive cars, run the country.
They are dead for they have no life within, no awareness of that life. Soon you will feel drained, low on energy around such people, no matter who they are. Your parents, your darling partner and soul mate. They have emotions just like you, vital motions giving them the sense of existing, but they have no feeling of life nor do they feel it as themselves. Sometimes, perhaps, that feeling awakens in them, it has to. But this means nothing. Your dog has a stronger feeling of existence than you. Your cat too. A cow, a horse, but not you. You can’t live without this feeling and for you we say – you don’t exist, you are not there, there is only an illusion about you. There is an image you are trying to sell, a game you are trying to play, but no you.
This is the key of all Work, spirituality, religion, life – all of it. This is the starting level. All that spirituality and other practices are trying to do is to bring you to this level. All techniques, prayers, means, scriptures are trying to bring you to this feeling for it is the foundation of any internal progress or evolution. That is what needs to do the Work, not you. For you are a dream of that. That is dreaming you. A man with this, a man who is this feeling, who knows himself as existence or beingness, who is aware of himself – is an awake human being. Awake within the dream. He knows the dream, he sees the dream and does not believe in it. He doesn’t believe in you either, you who don’t know this. This is the penultimate step before final awakening. Knowing that which is in the feeling of existence; knowing what it is, who it is, is being fully awakened or being BEYOND the dream. With self-awareness you are within the dream. With knowing the one BEYOND the dream you are BEYOND the dream, but the dream still exists.
Your sole effort should be in this direction. First, toward awareness of self as the feeling of existence, then toward going beyond that feeling and discovering the Truth behind it. Realizing the Truth. I won’t say “becoming awakened” or “enlightened” for these terms became fetters, they became everybody’s whores. The whole spiritual scene is one great whore giving itself value by talking about it. But they know nothing of Realizing the Truth no matter how “enlightened” or “awakened” they are.
Now go back to the beginning of the text and read it with awareness or self-remembering (feeling that you exist, that you are alive, with the feeling of beingness).