August 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
If meditation is a process specifically designed to gain knowledge of the true nature of self, then it follows that those who begin meditation do not know their true nature.
When asked who they are, most would answer with their name, job title or by identifying their role in the family. If asked how they were, a typical response would be they are happy, angry, sad, or whatever was the feeling of the moment. In meditation, however, we come to see that we are not our roles, thoughts or emotions but have falsely identified our self with these changing conditions in our life and mind.
We do not immediately identify with ever thought and emotion that arises. The decision to identify some as “self” and others as “not self” depends upon the ego. For our purpose here ego can be defined simply as the image one has of his or her self. If, for example, the self-image is that of a brave person what reinforces that image such as feelings of strength and power are accepted, while feelings of weakness and cowardice are rejected as “not self”.
It follows that if meditation promotes non-identification with the ceaseless arising and falling of thoughts that it also promotes non-identification with the ego, which is just a particular collection of these thoughts. The ego, then, is not the self we seek to know the true nature of through meditation.
The meditative process of not identifying with thoughts and the ego has been described as a simple process of asserting one is “not this, not that”. Following this process one eventually isolates in the mind a feeling or “sense of self” that, too, must be let go. The reason for this is simple. A sense of self, no matter how subtle, is still an object of awareness and not the subject, or self, that stands in polar relationship to that object. (Subject/Object consciousness is the field of awareness we must transcend and it is transcended through the “door” that is knowledge of the true nature of self.)
But what, we may ask, can we say about this self that is the subject to all objects but never an object? Ultimately we can say nothing because language in its structure is subject/object based, meaning all sentences have a subject and an object, or a verb that implies an object. E.g., “I am hungry” or, “She is dancing” has as part of its sentence structure a subject, “I” or “She”, and an object, “hungry” or “dancing”, with the verb “am” and “is” indicating a relationship.
It is not possible to speak of the subject without identifying it in some way as an object or in relationship to an object or action. The best one can do is state that the subject is the “I am” or that the “I am” is the Absolute. When analyzed, however, these statements are found to be nothing more than a tautology; the use of different words to say the same thing, or different words used in a self-reinforcing statement of something that can’t be proven. Nevertheless, a tautology can be a useful tool in directing the meditation towards the Goal, even if that Goal isn’t actually defined.
To employ a tautology in the context of this blog let us say the subject is the Observer of all objects and their interactions. When meditating, the awareness is to be directed back to the Observer by identifying any object, or any interaction of objects, as “not” the Observer (the “not this, not that” of the mystic process). When one then comes upon that “sense of self” mentioned above, assert that it, too, is an object and that your true nature is That which is observing the object.
To put it another way, you are the Observer that is aware of your small self “I”. Identify your true Self as the Observer, then let go of that assertion and step into the Beyond.