Research: Identity Beyond Stories

When you can sense the essence of yourself as consciousness, there's a vast power in there, which has nothing to do with egoic power, power over somebody. But sensing that is really the only thing that can free you of fear. (bell dinging) (bell dinging) So you can know a very old illustration or example to explain it. I believe it comes from India. You could use anything, but they use honey. So you can know honey by examining the structure of honey and where it comes from and how it's produced by the bees and the molecular structure and the chemical composition. And you can write several PhDs about honey, and you can know everything there is to know. Well, perhaps that's even impossible because there's always more to know, but you can know a lot about honey. So there you are, doctor of honey, after you have successfully defended your thesis. And one day somebody asked, have you actually ever tasted honey? No, that's not part of my PhD. If you taste honey, you would know nothing about it necessarily. You just, but there's a different knowing there that is more immediate, direct, nothing to do with concepts. But you know honey on a level that is deeper in a way than this person who only knows honey through concepts. And now we can apply that first to yourself and also of course, we can apply it to other people. How do you know somebody else? But you have to start with yourself. So in addition to knowing yourself as this historical person, which really is knowing about yourself, you know all kinds of things about yourself. And you can talk about it for a long time. You can write your autobiography and perhaps some people will be interested in it or not. Everybody has their own autobiography in their head. And it consists of things that you can talk about. So an autobiography consists of stories. This is what happened to me or this is what I did. Let me tell you the story. And this is what I experienced, that's what I suffered. (inhales deeply) But do I know myself at a deeper level? Am I able to let go to relinquish when I choose to relinquish all conceptual knowledge about myself, all narratives and stories and not live through the narratives and stories? Although I'm able to remember them when I need to. But am I able to know a deeper essence that enables the narratives to exist, to be? You need to be conscious to have a narrative, a story. You need to be conscious to perceive things with your senses. You need to be conscious to have an emotion. All these arise. They are objects that arise in, let's temporarily call it your consciousness, but it's not yours. They are all objects that arise in consciousness. So your life consists on the, except on the deepest level, your life, what I call your life situation is the term I choose to use, consists of the arising of objects in the space of consciousness or the light of consciousness. Perception, it's an object that arises in consciousness. There it is, and then it disappears, and then another perception replaces it. A thought arises, a stream of thoughts, they can take over your consciousness almost completely. They gobble up, they suck up. If thoughts can be so overpowering, if you're in the absence of awareness, a stream of thoughts can take your whole consciousness and manufacture thoughts out of it. And so you're completely unaware of yourself as consciousness, you're just completely identified with a thought. It takes up all your consciousness and makes it into thought and emotions. They may continue to see manufacturing more thoughts. I need more. And you can see it when people talk to each other sometimes, how they are taken over by a stream of thought and confuse it with who they are. And then they have to defend that stream of thought, whatever that stream of thought is saying, whatever position, whatever perspective it has. It, people become mortal enemies because your stream of thought does not agree with my stream of thought. And groups do it because there are collectives that are dominated by certain commonly held, jointly held beliefs. There are some collectives that are held together by belief systems, ideologies. And everybody takes it on board. And then the other collective have conflicting ideologies and they become your mortal enemy. And really all this happens because you don't know who you are. You only know yourself as an object in consciousness. So the deepest meaning of knowing yourself is knowing yourself beyond concepts, not through concepts. Not knowing yourself as an object in consciousness, but as the eternal subject, which is consciousness itself. And so the mind subsides and a sense of still alert presence remains. I am, and now you don't need to add anything to it. You just know that you are the beingness of you. And if that can be sustained in the background, so to speak, then you could have a discussion with somebody and you can put forward your point of view, which are thoughts, without making that person into an enemy because he or she holds opposite or conflicting points of view. And you can have a conversation. And while you're having a conversation, you remain spacious inside, but you can still clearly state your point of view without having a self-identification with your point of view. This is how I see it. But you don't derive your sense of identity from that mental position, but you can still, you don't have to give up all mental positions. You just recognize them as thoughts. You happen to, this is how I see reality. This is how I see that. (clears throat) But there's always something else in the background, something deeper. And then it is more likely that the awareness of the, which is deeper, which is awareness itself, may enable you to think in a different way so that you not just take on board what the collective that you happen to be born into tends to think. You don't adopt if you're born into a certain political system or whatever it may be. You don't necessarily adopt all their beliefs and make it part of your sense of identity. But you're able to, and even our civilization, perhaps our best of the one is not dominated by any one particular ideology, as for example, communist Russia was or China was, just still is to some extent, just getting mixed up with other things. But even here, if you may not realize that how many of the thoughts that you think are your thoughts, you have absorbed through a screen, either the TV screen or the iPad screen or the Samsung screen, and or some people still read newspapers, and you have absorbed certain viewpoints that most of the media tend to agree on with certain relation to your country or group of countries in relation to other countries. So, and you just absorb that, and that becomes your viewpoint. And you may not realize that perhaps it's quite a distorted way of looking. There may be other ways of looking, but people think these are my thoughts. They're not your thoughts, and it's not just with reference to the media, but with everything, these are thoughts that you absorb from the collective. But if you are aware, if this awareness is in the background, it is more likely that you are able to think creatively and that you can look through certain forms of almost hypnosis that if you live in a collective, you are hypnotized into that, you become part of that particular way of looking at the world. And you can see things more clearly and have creative thoughts. You can actually think better when you're able to step out of thinking. And then when you think, don't lose yourself completely in the thinking, then you can see more clearly. (inhales deeply) (exhales deeply) (inhales deeply) (exhales deeply) (inhales deeply) And another strange thing that happens when you can sense the essence of who you are, it's not just although the Buddha called it, well, as it's commonly translated, emptiness is not, I don't think that's a good translation of certain terms he used like sunyata. Spaciousness, I would prefer. Some call it nothingness, but there's more to it than that when you can sense the essence of yourself as consciousness. There's a power in there. There's a vast power in there, which has nothing to do with egoic power, power over somebody. (inhales deeply) But sensing that is really the only thing that can free you of fear. Because fear means all, you're the little me, and you've been threatened and fearful of what's going to happen to me and all these other me's around me, the others. But to be free of fear, if you can sense that deep within you, there is a silent power. And perhaps that is the deeper and original meaning of the term faith. Faith is to sense that power. It's not an intellectual thing. Belief, I would say, is an intellectual thing because the term belief as a noun means you believe in the veracity of certain things that are being told. It could be a story. You believe in this particular narrative. That's a belief. Faith is something, the way I interpret the word or use the word, is something deeper that is not connected with concepts. Faith is a deep trust. That's perhaps a better translation to a better pointer. A deep trust in life, which you cannot arrive at through telling yourself certain things. I really should be trusting because the universe is going to look after you. I just need to believe. You're still stuck in your head and you're saying, I just need to believe that the universe is going to look after me. The universe is going to look after. Okay, well, as maybe that is a bridge or maybe that is a signpost that can take you to the actual realization of what you're saying, but it's also possible that it remains a signpost and you never get to where the signpost points to. I'm trying to have this trust in the universe, but I still wake up in the middle of the night and in a state of panic. I don't know why. I keep telling myself that I need to trust the universe. Now, even it's on my bathroom mirror and a piece of paper written stuck. God loves you. Great. Well, is it a thought that you believe in that does not free you from fear? Or if it's a signpost and then it takes you to a deeper place where you realize your connectedness with the source ultimately, your connectedness with the source of all life, that there's not a separation, that you're not an autonomous entity thrown into out into thrown out of the universe or fallen from the sky. So to sense your connectedness with the source is the realization that God loves you, but you can let, you don't need the words anymore. There's just a trust and there's no duality anymore because you're an extension of the one, an emanation of the one. So faith really is trust, but the trust is not something you can think yourself into. Ultimately, you need to let go of all these concepts, although when you later talk about it, you may take them up again, but for the experience of it, you let go of concepts and you can sense in the space between two thoughts, in the space of awareness, you can sense the stillness, the presence, and you can sense it as a silent power, silent. That's the Tao, it's Chinese, a silent power. And that silent power is inseparable from who you are. It's you and much infinitely faster than you, both at the same time. It's almost as if a ray of sunlight that arrives here suddenly realizes its source. The ray of sunlight suddenly realizes its own source where it comes from. And it also realizes that it can never be totally separate from its source because the ray of sunlight somehow is still connected to the sun, which in this analogy, that's the source. So the ray of sunlight then could say, my fear has disappeared because I realize that I'm connected to something much faster and this vastness is sustaining me. It could say that. It could also say, and some rays have done that, I am the sun. Ecstatic, translated in this analogy, there have been mystics in various traditions who said, I am God. It's not advisable to say that. People don't like it. (audience laughing) So that power is something that you can then have in the sense in the background and it's not just a passive thing always in the background. It emanates intelligence, so to speak. It can use your mind and it can inspire you to be able to achieve it. This is the dimension of creativity, which is prior to form, but it's where form arises out of the formless. So all the great creations that humanity has been able to achieve over the centuries and millennia, anything truly creative comes because the human being who created that had some connection with the silent power within, perhaps only in the act of creation, perhaps not in their private life, but in the act of creation, there was suddenly that connectedness and many, many great composers and artists and even some of the great scientists who had breakthroughs say that it came to them almost fully formed as a revelation. It already arrived as if it had been already formed at a deeper level and then suddenly they just received it. And some report that they are overpowered almost by the sudden influx of an amazing thing that then becomes perhaps a work of art or an amazing insight or a piece of music that comes from that place. And those things that come from that deeper place are the things that remain because although most humans are not sufficiently connected to be able to create any of these things, there are quite a few who have at least have some connections and they're able to recognize the greatness in something when they see it. And so the humans value, for example, the great classics of literature, there are some books that have survived for 2000 and more years, it's miraculous because a book is a very fragile thing. And for many centuries, it can only survive if there were always people who valued it enough to copy it again, and then a few more copies and then they got damaged and burned and then one copy survived and then some other people saw how valuable it is, they could sense the, there was something transformative in it and so they copied it again. So books such as "The Doubt A Ching" or "The Bagavad Gita", they made one of my favorite books, "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius, 2000 years old. Somehow they survived even the dark eighties when almost nobody could read and write except a few monks in the monasteries and they kept it alive. But the main purpose is not to produce, necessarily produce some great thing or have some great insight that may come as an addition. The main purpose is to bring this state of consciousness into your life and then whatever happens through it happens. And then it may grow a little bit, the space around it. And then you find you become more interested in that little space around it than in the condition. So you give more attention to that, the spaciousness that around it comes with the acceptance of what is and you can sense that space a bit more and then it, what I'm saying is not literally true, but I'm just saying it grows, it seems to grow. Then there's a bit more, the condition is still the same, but it has receded somewhat. It's no longer the center of your attention. You have more aware of the space. You become the space for it. Also to make sure you're actually taking action after watching this video, I've designed a special free worksheet just for this video. The worksheet will highlight all the lessons learned in this video as well as pull out our three favorite learnings and quotes that will inspire you to actually do something. The worksheet will also give you space to write down what your key takeaways are and your specific plan of action to make sure you're getting results. If you want the worksheet designed specifically for this video, absolutely for free. There's a link in the description below. Go click on it and start building the momentum in your life and your business. I'll see you there. I had a very extremely painful relationship with myself. I couldn't live with myself anymore. And so I somehow said, that's it. I can't live with it anymore. That's it. But that was so total that I no longer sustained, fueled the self through thought. I didn't know anything about it. It just happened. So the mind made image dissolved. The self that I couldn't live with that was so heavy dissolved. And what was left was simply I. So the I shifted from worse before when I said I, I was referring to myself, the unhappy dense I, the story based I that dissolved. And then the true I emerged had always been there. Presence, I am, nothing in particular anymore. A simple sense of presence or beingness. And for the first time I could walk and be without having a relationship with myself. And that there is something so precious in that I or presence. So it's beyond words. You could say it's like a diamond. It's something extremely, very, very precious. That's why perhaps Buddhism sometimes has the image of a diamond. But this is not comparative. It's not a sense of that deepest self, not the mind made self is so precious that it knows itself to be that in a non-dualistic way without needing to compare itself to others. It has nothing to do with a form or any mind form. So as presence arises, you don't need self-assessment self-esteem anymore. You don't depend on that anymore because what dissolves is the mind made entity with which you have a relationship. And it's so self-esteem is an intermediate thing that for a little while makes your life more pleasant. It's fine. And then after a while you see the unsatisfactory nature even of that, because you cannot uphold continuous self-esteem, it's hard work, all these affirmations. And then things come into your life that tell you the opposite, inevitably sooner or later. (laughs) So then suddenly you don't love yourself anymore, nor do you hate yourself because there's no self to love. They simply the state of this, which is love. It emanates. I often say yes to the present moment, or I say, make the present moment your friend, not your enemy. So to say yes to the present moment is a powerful teaching, but it can be misunderstood and has been misunderstood sometimes and it needs to be explained what that. (audio cuts out) (audio cuts out) (audio cuts out)