All day long I watch the word “I” arise.

Do you watch it arise, too, or do you take for granted that an “I” exists?

All day long the “I” gestures and speaks, assumes and discerns, carries on, does its “I” thing.

If you haven’t been watching closely, oh-so-closely, you may want to declare that an “I” exists, that it’s sacrosanct, that it is obvious.

You may feel boredom or impatience that someone exclaims, over and over again, that “I” is unnecessary, obtuse, obscure, inconclusive.

Yet, watch.


Who is this “I” that we proclaim over and over again?

Look honestly.  Look purely.  Look without a cultural bias.  Look without a societal bias.  Look outside the “mold of man”.

“I” is a mental construct. 

It is a way the mind divides reality into sections.  It assumes the body must be “it”.

But if you look closely, everything that arises is “I”.  Or, smilingly enough, everything that arises is “not I”.

It is self-evident that the only thing that exists is the Mystery arising.

The Mystery arises, unbidden.

It arises without a subject or an object.

It arises as one, Holy, Holy, Holy!

I forget this, too.

I fall back into the “I” a dozen times a day, sometimes a hundred.

You may want to push the “I” away, to make it disappear.

But that is not the Way.

See what’s stronger, bolder, more apparent than the illusion of the thought which labels ourselves into a cookie-cutter shape.

See what exists first and put your faith in that.

Put your faith so strongly in that knowing that nothing separate has the courage or daring to continue to defend its existence in the face of sunlight, snow, the next breath, your unknown step against an unknown earth, the mystery of vapor rising and falling in the rivers of your moment.


8 thoughts on ““I”

  1. When we see this purely and simply, don’t our hearts know that “you” and “I” are not two? That we are pure awareness delighting in all the forms as they arise, the seemingly separate bodies, the back and forth, the amazement of what appears to exist? Thank you, Laurie, Susan and Nicole for pausing between thoughts to recognize the truth of us.

  2. Lovely Kath!

    We are conditioned to “believe” we are separate and individual and that is held in place by the beliefs and judgments people around us have flooded us with our whole lives as well as our buying into their interpretations.

    Not only that, our little “built in interpreter” has been creating beliefs around our “so called individuality” and separation our whole life. We, as you say, separate ourselves with the belief in this “I”. The conditioning is very strong. It is amazing anyone sees through it at all.

    When we see we are the creator and nothing has any inherent meaning or interpretation other than the one’s we give it, this poem (one of my all time favorites) becomes real and the wide open spaciousness of real freedom is seen as who we are.

    This Only

    A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
    A voyager arrives, a map leads him there.
    Or perhaps memory. Once long ago in the sun,
    When snow first fell, riding this way
    He felt joy, strong, without reason,
    Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
    Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
    Of a train on the viaduct, a feast in motion.

    He returns years later, has no demands.
    He wants only one, most precious thing:
    To see, purely and simply, without name,
    Without expectations, fears, or hopes,
    At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

    ~ Czeslaw Milosz ~

    (The Collected Poems, 1931-1987, trans. by Robert Hass)

  3. Ben, this is an awesome poem! Thank you for sharing it. We are so conditioned as an “I” that it is, indeed, true and amazing that anyone sees it all the way through. “I” would like to see it all the way through. Who I truly am has already seen it through. Blessings.

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