Tag Archives: I Am

Am I in control of my thoughts?

There is no difference in being aware of a tree and being aware of a thought.

So why is it so easy to align my identity with the contents of a thought and not the condition of the tree? The tree could be beautiful or ugly, tall or short, alive or dead, sturdy or weak, and it does not affect the “I” in any way.

A thought on the other hand can be kind or harsh, pure or impure, moral or immoral, and the “I” is always drastically affected. We align our identity with the thought and then cast judgment upon it. This judgment will either make us want to hold on to that thought or run far away from it as fast as we can. This conditioned reflex to become one with the thought is based solely upon the following statement.

“I am in control of my thoughts”

In the pursuit of our own bliss it now becomes imperative to either prove or disprove this statement above. In beginning this investigation the first and most obvious question is this: Who is this “I”?

If we are going to know the “I” we must first understand our own capacity to ‘know’. Knowledge in the conventional sense is perception analyzed with thought to create concepts. The bottleneck in this process is perception itself. What can not be perceived can not be turned into a thought, and thus not turned into a concept.

Digging deep into the act of perception we can see that there are actually three things required: the perceived, perception, and the perceiver. In the example of the tree we can understand that the tree is the perceived, eyesight is the perception, and then what is the perceiver? My first instinct is to say that it is the brain.

But is my brain also perceived? I can’t see my own brain, though I suppose I could with some major surgery and a mirror. I could also touch it through similar means. So then, can the brain be both the perceiver AND the perceived? I mean, it is the brain that translates what has been perceived through eyesight into an image.

So the brain must be a part of perception and NOT the perceiver.

Who is this damned perceiver then? The celebrated YouTube guru Mooji knowingly points seekers by asking “Can the perceiver be perceived?”. Nisargadatta Maharaj says “The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.” Initially this leaves us with a most unsatisfying conclusion. If I can not perceive the “I”, then I can never truly know who I am.

Getting back to the original statement we are examining, if I can never know the “I” then it would be nonsensical to assume that this “I” is in control of my thoughts. In fact in not knowing the “I” it is meaningless to lay claim to “my” thoughts at all.

That leaves us with “control”. Can thoughts be controlled? Do you know the next thought that is going to pop into your mind? It seems that we often get the thoughts we want the least. Through resisting a thought, that for all intents and purposes appeared randomly in your consciousness, we empower it. Continual resistance trains your brain to think your most undesirable thoughts at a most distressing frequency. It is only when you give up this control unequivocally that you release it.

A resisted thought is like a prisoner in our brain.

Eckhart Tolle rhetorically asks “What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?” Such a thought is being denied it’s own existence and therefore can not run it’s course into nothingness. It is the nature of things to come and go.

The idea of control is problematic on many levels. We can’t define that “I” who is doing the controlling; the thoughts that I want to control can’t even be “my” thoughts without a known “I”; and any attempts to control thinking seems to have a substantial negative effect.

Lets modify the primary sentence in question. Lets toss out the first word “I”, and along with it the last two “my thoughts” as we know them to be either false or unknowable. The middle phrase “in control of” seems to be rife with issues so lets drop it as well. That leaves us with just one word, “Am”. Seeing a similarity to ‘Amen’ I performed a quick etymology check revealing it’s intended meaning as “so be it” or “truth”.

Let us conclude with the only truth to be found in our initial sentence; Am. There is an obvious temptation to use the phrase “I Am” which is extremely popular in spiritual texts and discussions. But in this context I see “I” and “Am” as two words carrying the same meaning. There is no “I” apart from being, and no being apart from “I”. Perhaps the best way to express this is to write it: “I, Am”.

The Forgotten Sense

Whenever you talk of the sixth sense in popular culture it is assumed you are talking of something other worldly. Of someone having a skill like reading minds, seeing ghosts, or predicting the future. It is wonderful fodder for the imagination.

In the limited research I have done on the topic I came across this article on how humans have many more than just the five accepted senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. It talks about senses like itch, pain, pressure and balance among many others.

However, even in this incredibly detailed article, I find that there is a very obvious sense that no one ever really talks about. It is because it would shake the foundation upon which many of our lives are built.

It is the sense that you are having a thought.

You know when you are having a thought. You know what the thought is about. You know the words the thought is using. You know the colors, sounds and feelings created by the thought. You even know the impact the thought has on the entire body. You can perceive each and every thought in amazingly great detail.

Upon closer examination of the accepted five senses, as well as all of those included in the article, you will come to realize that they are all in fact, types of thought.

Ok, you say, what’s the big deal? My foundation remains unshaken.

Well there are two very important implications of this:

  1. If I can perceive my thoughts, then I am not my thoughts.
  2. If everything is a thought, what the heck is left when I am not thinking?

This may cause you to question the very essence of who you are. Without thought, or content, it becomes impossible to describe yourself. Even though you are sure you exist you can not make it into something you can hold on to. You can not describe yourself to someone else. You just are.


The Eternal Opposite

Is there anything about me that doesn’t come and go?

Every emotion, every thought, every image, every taste, and every sound. They all come into my perception, and then very quickly leave. I may add any habitual judgement to what I am perceiving, but that also comes and goes.

Perhaps it is the reactions to these perceptions that make up the self? But those also change. Your favorite music, preferred food, and taste in art may change dramatically throughout your entire life.

All of my perceptions only show me what changes. In order to perceive these changes I must be that which doesn’t change. For instance, in order to perceive the color white your natural state can’t be to see white. I can only be what is not perceivable.

I perceive things because they are different that I am. Anything that is me is rendered invisible (like the white paint on a white canvas). So in relation to all that is perceivable I do not exist. I am the eternal opposite.

Excuse me while my mind blows….

Perception is the birthplace of all conceptual knowledge. Therefor whomever I am must be known on another level. It must be felt without thought. Without imagination. It can have no content.

Nisargadatta says “The only fact you can be sure of is that you are”. So while I am nothing that can be perceived, I must be the space in which perception happens. I am aware that there is perceiving happening. When I identify as the perceiver, or the person, I suffer. When I am just aware of it, there is peace.