22 December 2010

Hi Ed,

I found your web site in reference to Nisargadatta. My name is M. I'm 33 and undergoing a transformation that I couldn't explain (I referred to it as "connecting with the unknown" and such and developed it in artistic practice) until I stumbled upon "I am that" at the local library in a small town where I lived last summer.

In a way I feel like realization is inevitable, because I see this shift happening despite no effort on my part. I've become looser, more agile in my mental process. I can focus longer, interrupt and switch my attention, and therefore I can let go of things and see them dissipate. I find myself waking up from dream thoughts, with only a memory that I was doing and thinking such and such. At the point of waking up, I watch the thought dissipate and I feel "upright" again, or something like that. I've had some experiences, too, in meditation, though I don't have a fixed practice. I stay attentive when I can.

I experienced unification with my visual field - with closed eyes, I watched the constant buzzing in my vision, forming into images one after another, and then it felt like it suddenly expanded infinitely on the depth axis, I couldn't tell where I began and the visual field ended.

Another time I watched my body sense and noticed that it is like a shapeless shimmer, constantly buzzing. My mind constantly seeks to label "arm", "hands crossing", etc., by flashing images, but between these images was just a shimmer. I wondered "where does this shimmer come from?" and became aware of an empty background. I understood it cannot be sensed, since my senses are the shimmer on its surface. I tried to pay attention to it, to shift my focus onto this blank space, but I don't know if I succeeded. I then had a brief moment where I felt like a child again, like my surrounding space was something of my early youth. I felt contented, as if my mother held me, everything felt taken care of.

Last summer I had another experience like that. I was playing guitar, focusing keenly on the subtlest sounds it was making, and suddenly I felt like the whole world was one object. The separation between my body and the surrounding space seemed only superficial, like a technical detail. Then I felt like my body was floating in space, as if my limbs were disconnected and my body was hollow. This "space" was different than what I normally refer to as space. It was inward, it felt like space itself was hanging in this "space." I talked and heard my voice and it sounded distant; I could feel the spit in my mouth and the subtlest bits of pressure in my muscles as I was talking. I had thoughts, but it felt like they were calling out from a periphery, I didn't stick to them so easily. When I started to move freely I couldn't hold on to that feeling.

This whole level of "inward awareness" got unleashed fiercely about a year ago when I started to draw and began to ask "who is drawing? who is responsible for this artifact? what is expression?" (essentially I was being pushed to achieve in life, and began to wonder "what is achieving?" and used drawing as a medium for experimentation) and answers that I threw out there so quickly in the beginning slowly disintegrated into something resembling "I don't know".

Anyway, I can't say that I'm driven by a clear urge or a question, I feel like my day to day sinks into a strange comfort that the world is taking care of itself, I needn't bother with anything in particular. I suppose this is something like faith. I realized that the phenomena I rely upon so fundamentally is outside of my knowledge. I apparently move my finger, though I know nothing of the mechanism making that happen. Am I even moving my finger? I don't even know that.

This is an intensely private side of my life, it is difficult to open conversation on such subjects, and perhaps that's what drives me to make contact with you.



Sounds wonderful.

You are playing around the lip of the abyss that you want to fall into. That hollow emptiness that pervades all is it, "it" in the sense of first stage awakening once you are stabilized in it. The hollowness feeling is because the sense of I disappears, destroying the network of thought that sustains the world and you as an apparent entity.

Having regular meditation periods really, really help. Just muck around inside looking for you, and the feeling, I.  That's all I should say for now since you seem to be doing a good job by accident and I don't want to contaminate that natural process happening to you. It helps though to give your inquiry a little gas with regular sitting.

Download Hunting the I from my website and the Nisargadatta Gita from Lulu.com. Keep in touch.

Good luck, Ed

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