Friday, April 1, 2016

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR REAL SELF?

Most of us live from and out of our personality as opposed to our individuality. Only our individuality—as a person among persons—is authentically real, for it is our very ‘AM-ness’, the stuff of existence itself. Let me explain.

In the Bible we read that Moses, standing before the burning bush, asked God His name, so he could tell the Israelites who sent him. God replied:

I AM THAT I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'‘ God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. (Ex 3:14-15)


Did this incident really occur? Was there really a burning bush which was not consumed? Was there actually a Moses? I don't think so. I think the Biblical Moses is a figure of myth, not history. It doesn't matter at all. The story is about one man's encounter with 'ultimate reality'a man who finds himself in the presence of pure Being and who comes to see things-as-they-really are. The symbolism of the story is palpable and obvious. The nature of ultimate reality can be 'discovered' in any flower or bush, whether burning or not. It can also be seen in people, in fact, in every thing and everywhere ... if you look deeply and mindfully enough.

Now, I simply cannot believe in a God who is some sort of all-powerful personal, super-personal or supra-personal Person, Being or Thing ‘up there’ or ‘out there’ who supposedly takes a personal interest in each one of us and knows everything about us (even knowing how many hairs are on our head). No, I do not believe God is a Person or Being of any kind. Actually, I neither believe nor disbelieve in any God at all, but that's another matter. What I'm talking about here is something that is not a matter of belief at all. On the contrary, it is a matter of knowing and understanding what truly is. The only understanding of God that makes any sense at all to meother than the very Biblical understanding of God as love (cf 1 Jn 4:8)is God as pure Be-ing, God as the Great ‘I AM’timeless, spaceless, ageless, and without face, form or figure. This Be-ing, the metaphysical name of which is ‘I AM THAT I AM’, is forever becoming, entering into time and space as each and every living thing, taking shape and form in and as each and every thing. This Be-ing is what it becomes, hence, I AM THAT I AM. You know, the ancient Hebrews, for the most part, had a very tribal concept of God, one that is often quite unattractive, but at times we find in the Hebrew Bible something much more profound ... and we have it here ... namely, an understanding of the Divine as the Great I AM. 'I AM THAT I AM.'

In Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, which is generally closer to the Hebrew than most of the other well-known English versions of the Bible, the phrase ‘I AM THAT I AM’ is rendered 'I AM THAT WHICH I AM'. Exactly. The Great I AM—Life itself—becomes in and out of Itself the ‘I AM-ness’ (‘AM ness’) of all that it becomes. Of course, in so doing, this Great I AM never exhausts Itself, for It is much, much more than that which It becomes. It is indeed all that It becomes, but that is not all that there is of It. In other words, this inexhaustible Be-ing of which I speak is the very Be-ing-ness or livingness—self-livingness, in fact—of life itself. It is the very ground of all being … and all beings.

Life manifests itself in each of us, as us. Each one of us is both an inlet and an outlet of life's self-livingness or self-expression. God—the Great I AM—is what some Christian metaphysicians refer to as your ‘Divine Self’, the 'Christ Self', or the 'Christ within'. Others, including some psychologists, refer to it as your ‘Real Self’ or ‘True Self’. It doesn’t really matter what we call it. The word or phrase is not the thing. I am talking about the 'I AM', or 'AM-ness', of you. This AM-ness animates your body and your mind, in fact, your whole life. It causes your heart to beat and it causes you to think.

When you say, ‘I am … [this or that]’, who or what is this ‘I’ which is speaking? ‘The person that I am, that’s who,’ I hear some of you answer. Yes, that’s true up to a point, for we usually employ the word ‘I’—a pronoun—to refer to the person speaking. In truth, the ‘I’ of us is something much, much deeper. Your AM-ness—the be-ing-ness of you—manifests in your mind as a focal point or centre of consciousness and calls itself ‘I’. In fact, your AM-ness manifests in your mind and resonates throughout your whole body as ‘I-consciousness’. This ‘I’ enables you, the person that you are, to say ‘I am …’.

Your ‘I’ is your Real Self. When the Bible says that you are made in the image and likeness of God, it is saying that God, the Great I AM, becomes and is you, or at least your Real Self. The ‘I’ is the real individual made in the image and likeness of the Great I AM. Each of us is a spark of the Divine Fire. Of course, as I've said on innumerable occasions in the past, we are much, much more than those hundreds of little, false selves---all those waxing and waning ‘I’s’ and ‘me’s’---with which we tend to identify—our many likes, dislikes, prejudices, predilections, habits and personality quirks--in the mistaken belief that those things, which pertain only to the personality of us, constitute the ‘real me,’ that is, the person each one of us is. Know this—those hundreds and thousands of false selves are not even a shadow of the ‘real you’. Only the latter—the mind-body complex that is the personis ontologically real. All of the above mentioned false selves are illusory, and the challenge for each one of us as persons is to transmute our false, illusory selves into our Real Self. You see, from a metaphysical point of view, only the ‘I’, the Real Self of each one of us, is real, for it is the ‘stuff’ of pure consciousness itself, the very ‘I AM-ness’ of life’s self-existence and self-expression. Yes, your ‘I’ is your individuality, not your personality. The ‘I’ of you is an individualized inlet and outlet of consciousness which, in its impersonal, infinite, formless, essence is pure, unindividualized Be-ing-ness. Say this to yourself several times, until the ‘inner’ meaning of the words resonates and authenticates itself to you:

I AM me, my Real Self … that part of me who says ‘I AM’ and is I AM.

When you have reached the point where, when you say 'I AM ...', you are then and there aware of your very own awareness or consciousnesswhich is the essence of mindfulness, by the way—you have come to know, and live from, your Real Self. 

Now, here is something very importantwe think, feel, and act out of that which, in essence, we are (the AM-ness in us) whenever we use our intellect, emotions, and will. All parts of us are one with the wholeness of our being. Whenever we affirm ‘I am …’ we are affirming our be-ing-ness, our very AM-ness, as well. When we say, ‘I am tired,’ we attach our AM-ness to tiredness. When say, ‘I am strong,’ we attach our AM-ness to strength. So, at the risk of sounding Pollyanish, it is imperative that we think, speak and act from a plane of consciousness that is wholesome, loving, uplifting and positive, for as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘We are what we think all day long.’ We must be careful what we attach our ‘I’ to. When we say, ‘I am weak’, we are attaching our ‘I’ to weakness. When we say, ‘I am angry’, we are attaching our ‘I’ to anger. Be careful what you do with your ‘I’, for it will make or break you!

The minister, lecturer and author Dr Harry Gaze [pictured right], in his book Life, Youth and Success, wrote of the importance of living from and out of one’s Real Self as opposed to any one or more of our false selves:

As we continue to speak from this plane of consciousness, the qualities of the real ‘I’ or individual are made more and more manifest in the personality.

Take care what you do with your 'I'. For your sake ... and for the sake of others.



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