Once we have explored our so-called “inner world” to find that there is not an object called “me”, a monumental shift begins to take place.
What is that shift? It is the transformational shift from living as an entity called “me” and all the entanglement that that me creates, to living from a peaceful, spacious presence that a quiet mind provides. In other words, if the mind is not active in protecting, defending and promoting a non-existent me entity, it begins to relax and let go of all its forms of strategizing to avoid pain and provide comfort.
Before we leave the “mind as me” behind, let’s examine this conditioned identity (I am the mind/body) and the consequences of this identity concept. By the age of three, we know our names and can point to our bodies as “me”. From that point forward we identify ourselves with the mind/body and the stream of thoughts that occupy our attention. The question “who am I?” has been answered: I am this body and its thoughts.
This is a costly concept. Let’s assess it. First, let’s see that it’s only a concept and not truthful. We can quickly see that I am not my thoughts because even as one thought dissolves and the next one emerges, I remain. If the body is altered or as it ages, I remain.
See that who I am is the ever-present awareness in which the mind/body is occurring.
So let’s be clear that we are living out a lie: We are not the mind/body, yet our every thought and action is on behalf of this mind/body we call me.
See that we live in protection, defense and promotion of this concept of ourselves as the mind/body. If someone opposes an idea we are promoting, defensive thoughts arise on our behalf. If we have a situation we dislike—a so called “problem”—a flow of thoughts arise to solve this problem. The mind is at work on our behalf and most of it’s thoughts arise on our behalf. This is the source of all the restlessness, dis-ease and searching in the world that the mind embarks upon to find peace. It will never find peace.
Our lives are being lived for a ghost— as what we have taken ourselves to be is only a concept and not real. Most of us will live and die without venturing beyond this pervasive cultural assumption of a “me”. For those of us who begin to move beyond the cultural assumption of a “me”, we let go of an identity of the mind/body as me. We see that identity can only lead to searching and suffering (trying to arrange the world so we can feel ease and peace).
See that we have misidentified ourselves. Now ask, “who am I?” Moving beyond thoughts and its concepts, we begin to have the felt understanding that who we are is the awareness in which our thoughts and subsequent feelings arise; we are the awareness in which the mind/body arises. Once this process begins to unfold, we are now freeing our thoughts and feelings from all it’s work on behalf of a “me”.