Skip to main content
Topic: Does the Self need "Iamness" or "Isness" to exist or to appear to itself? (Read 37 times) previous topic - next topic

Does the Self need "Iamness" or "Isness" to exist or to appear to itself?

Self Enquiry 1.0.0 2019-10-09 23:09:13 SQ: 75

Does the Self need "Iamness" or "Isness" to exist or to appear to itself?

Iam-ness is Self itself and Isness is existence itself. So the question becomes - does the Self need Self or the Existence need existence to be? Which is not a very meaningful question. Probably those words mean something else to you.

Isness comes from Buddhism, Self comes from Advaita. Iamness can mean the identity, person or ego. The word exist is exactly opposite of appear. That which exists does not appear and that which appears does not exist. So, you see, when you mix random words or concepts from different philosophies, it is a disaster.

Always start from the direct experience, not from words. Just look!

There is an experience right now. This cannot be denied. There are many kinds of it - the objects, people, body, pains, emotions, thoughts etc., but it is there. Something is being experienced. That which experiences, or is a sink of all these experiences, we can call it the experiencer. It cannot be denied also. It is nothing but a consciousness of the experience. The experience is the content of the consciousness. If I say there is no experience, I just had an experience of saying so. If I say there is no experiencer, I just witnessed those words being spoken. So, these are so solid and so true and so certain that even a denial establishes them. This is your direct experience, not an idea or concept.

In Advaita, the experiencer is also known as the Self, or the seer, or the Atman (Its not I, which is the ego or Aham). The experience is known as the Maya or the illusion or the seen or an appearance. Taken together, we can call the experience-experiencer duo as the Brahman or seeing or experiencing. When the division of the experience and the experiencer is not made, all that remains is experiencing. No seer, no seen, just seeing. This is what is. In Buddhist terminology you can call it suchness or isness. This is. Nothing more can be said about it, except that it is one, not two, and is empty, has no substance. It does exist, but not as any experience and not as an experiencer of any experience. So the word exist falls short to describe it. And we say it both exists and does not exist. It is unknowable etc. We can say, it is pure consciousness devoid of contents.

At the highest level, the existence or oneness needs nothing to exist. Actually it is emptiness, so does not really exist. Since it is infinite potential, it exists potentially. When the potential manifests, we can call it appearance. Does it need existence to appear? Yes. But it is not separate from existence and is only an appearance or illusion, so it never exists. It is the existence appearing to itself. So we can say - existence needs existence to appear to itself. Which is not a very useful sentence of course.

Out of infinite things that can potentially happen, one is the mind. Mental activity divides the existence into two - the experience and the experiencer. Usually we call the experiencer as the Self or the I. The experience is anything that appears to the experiencer. So the experiencer cannot be without an experience. However, both are illusory and do not exist. Since they do not exist, there is no need or requirement for existence of both. But since both appear together, we can say that one cannot appear without the other. But it is mostly a division, not a causal relation. Just like the two faces of the coin cannot exist without each other, but we never say that one face causes the other, or that one face needs the other face, they are not two, only a conceptual division.

What remains when both experience and the experiencer are not there? Nothing can be said about it because this never happens. This is also our direct experience. We can only say that pure emptiness remains. Emptiness with potential. Nonexistence. Unknowable. No mind, pure mind, Shiva - the dark and mysterious, there are so many words in different traditions.

Just like the mirror is empty and can only reflect whatever appears in front of it. Without anything to reflect, a mirror cannot be known, and without a mirror nothing can be reflected.

Is there a mirror, yes.
Can it be known, no.
What if there is nothing else but a mirror with a clean surface? Emptiness with potential.
What if the mirror curves on itself to see itself? Pure consciousness, but nothing is really seen.
What if the surface changes a bit? Now one part of the mirror can see the other part. The experience and experiencer. The change is the mirror. The mirror needs the mirror to produce the change. The mirror needs the mirror to experience the change.
What if the change self organizes, stores experiences? Mind is born. It is nothing but a structure, mostly memory and processes. Pure change, pure information, patterns of vibration.
What if the mind produces special structures to limit the experience? Senses are born. Objects appear. Body appears. Individual is formed. World appears. Maya. Struggle for survival begins.
What if these appearance are taken as real and are taken seriously? Suffering and bondage. Wheel of samsara.
What if the mind is freed from this ignorance? Liberation, Mukti, Mokshya, Nirvana, Turiya, Samadhi, and many words.
How long does it take to do so? 5 minutes, you just did it.
How long can one remain in ignorance? Many lifetimes, most are and will remain so. Confusion. Words. Language. Concepts. Beliefs. They will never look. It is so simple, it is easy to miss.