Well I've been back in the Western world now for about a week. One is struck by the lack of plastic rubbish and open putrid drains in the streets. Not to mention the livestock, throngs of people, incessant beeping of horns, exhaust fumes and all that. It's fairly cold here down in Australia in mid winter - not exactly arctic cold but it is getting below zero in some parts.
Another shock to the system was having to pay more for a 15minute shuttle train from Brisbane airport to the city than it cost to travel 1274km across India by sleeper train for 27hrs. The plus is the lack of bacteria and the opportunity to earn some bucks to finance the next expedition to the sub-continent. If I get my act together that is and notwithstanding being struck down by a killer dose of swine flu or becoming a refugee of the 'global financial crisis'.
So India. She's a beauty alright; apart from all of the shitty stuff of course. In my time there I managed to come into contact with over a dozen Saints, Sages, Swamis and Satsang givers, most of whom I would rate quite highly in the Consciousness stakes (in so far as I can tell). I also got mauled by a dog, had two fairly serious bouts of gastro-intestinal illness and nearly became an international fund raiser for a mother-daughter con-team.
Particularly during the month of March I went through an intensive period of introspection and blog publishing which seemed to revolve around a cycle of experience, conceptualization and doubt. It’s not in every place where one could have such an opportunity.
My conclusion based upon said introspections is that the much talked about ‘I AM’ is the simple and direct sense of existing common to us all but mostly overlooked. By persistently and consistently redirecting ones attention away from the egoic ‘I’ (thoughts/feelings/intentions/identifications) back to the underlying pure sense of conscious-being and abiding as that, then presumably/reportedly/reputedly, sooner or later, some thresh-hold is breached and finally some kind of permanent shift occurs which is generally referred to as ‘Self-Realization’.
I have yet to verify that last contention for 'my-so-called-self' and if anyone else gets there before me please let me know how it is over there, on-the-other-side, home and dry.
To refine that somewhat, and to pose an answer to a question which was certainly going around in my head, then this basic sense of existing (‘I AM’) seems to be the unadulterated reflection of the unmanifest pure transcendental consciousness in the individual being before the ego gets it grubby little hands on it and covers up our inherently free and peaceful nature with all kinds of crap and shit! Still, that seems to be the game and if the pundits like Ramesh Balsekar are to be believed then it’s all part of the set-up by the mysterious Source.
Another puzzle I encountered along the way was that at one point I was confused in this quest if I should be focusing more upon the expanded sense of awareness I associated with the head-less space or upon the grounded sense of being I associated more with embodiment. That may be a valid question as far as meditation (upon an object) is concerned but what I realize is that as far as self-inquiry (upon the subject) is concerned, then the real bone of contention is who is the one who thinks they are choosing anything?
I don’t know about this Self-Realization malarkey but it seems to involve something about being here-now in conscious-presence with acceptance of reality as it is. Well it sounds alright to me and in the absence of a better plan I guess I’ll keep plugging away at it in my own sporadic way and perhaps one day the veils will drop. Inner peace is perhaps a better term in that it doesn’t seem to carry so much baggage of expectation and projection of what such a way of being would be like.
Anyway, good luck to you all in your own journey of inner peace and thanks for keeping me company along the way. It may be that I get back to India relatively soon for a second round and it may be that some more of my dribbles will appear on this blog from time to time. If so and if you’d like to keep up with the dribbles then you can register with this free website : http://www.watchthatpage.com/ to be notified of any new updates as well as through the usual subscription routes.
Again, thanks for sharing the ride with me which made it all the more worthwhile - that is, if you or I really exist in the first place………………
Bon voyage fellow travelers and Aum Shanti.
From 'I Am That' - Talks with Nisargadatta Maharaj :
"In spite of its primevality the sense of 'I am' is not the highest. It arises with the body (and) when Pure Awareness is attained, no need exists anymore, not even for 'I am', which is but a direction indicator towards the Absolute. What prevails (then) is that which cannot be described, that which is beyond words. It is this state which is most real, a state of pure potentiality, which is prior to everything. The 'I am' (is a) mere reflection of it. Return again and again to 'I am' until it is your only abode; until the ego as a limitation of 'I am' has disappeared. It is then that the Realisation will happen effortlessly."