This talk is about a journey into your Self. It is about discovering what you are and it is not about becoming anything other than what you are now.
I feel both sorry for and angry with teachers who preach that there is no self, that the self is only the figment of society, conditioning, and thought. They state that that is necessary is to look within and you will “see” that there is nothing, no internal object, that the word “I” points too. There is only inner emptiness and a “presence,” of beingness that fills that emptiness, calling this the One, or even the Absolute, and stating this is the “unchangeable” essence of your being.
I am sorry for them because they do not realize how unimaginably short-viewed their vision is; there is so much more to them and to you that they cannot even fathom because they have stopped at no-self, presence, or newness, and they wait for things to “unfold” because they believe there is nothing deeper than beingness.
I am angry with them because they can only take their students as far as they have gone, which is not very far, but it is easy to get where they are and doesn’t take that much effort. Therefore, they have lots of students who likely will remain at this level for a long, long time because the teaching says there is nothing beyond or prior to beingness.
But I want to invite you on a journey into your Self that will take you much deeper, a journey through “levels” or increasing subtleties of who you are until finally you reach the most subtle level of your own manifestation and knowing- ness, each of which feels more “intimate” and closer to one’s primary sense of existence, one’s essence: the Self.
The first body is, of course, our physical body which interacts apparently with an external world. The body is a machine, so to speak, a living entity that translates sensual stimulIi into electrical nerve network impulses that the brain turns into a representation that allows us, at a deeper level within, to know, act in, and explore the physical dimension.
This second body, which I’ll call the Subtle Body and is also called the Energy Body, is entirely different from the physical world. Out of the electrical network and brain, a subjective world of consciousness is created complete with a subjective representation of the external world. That external world is a figment, or creation, of the consciousness generated somehow by the body, which communicates with the so-called external world through our nervous system.
In this sense, consciousness is self-contained. We, who we are is consciousness and can only know objects in consciousness including the external world. In this sense, we have to trust that there really is an external world independent of our bodies which our representation accurately mirror. That is, we have to assume as true that there is something external to me, which I cannot see, hear, touch or feel in truth—as I can only experience what that thing appears to be in my consciousness. I have no idea of what the broccoli that I am eating is really like independent of how it tastes and has texture to me.
This is the basis of the idealist’s viewpoint: all that we can know is consciousness, so why assume there is an external world? Ramana does not believe there is one, nor does Nisargadatta or Robert Adams. There is only “me” for them, and every other sentient being is only an object in their consciousness.
Another viewpoint, the realists’ viewpoint, is there are others outside of my consciousness, each of which is and utilizes the same type of consciousness as I do. Each is a bubble of consciousness somehow aware of other bubbles of consciousness. There are other variations than this found in philosophy.
But the second body is not really “of” the first body. It is in an inner, subjective dimension as opposed to the ourward, worldly, physical four dimensions of space and time.
What does this second, or Subtle Body consist of? It is made up of mind, thoughts, intelligence, images and imaging, the container of emptiness, the sense of presence, the experiences of the body from the inside, like pain and pleasure, movement and stillness, and the experience of inner energies, Chi, Prana, Kundalini, and Merridian energies.
It has an existence as a separate felt body, something like an inner entity, almost ghost-like in form, that spreads throughout the physical body and extends beyond it. When perceived as a whole it feels like an inner being, inside the body, made of light, energy, and most of “sentience,” being aware of itself, our bodies and the world, but it is not of the world, because it is not made of matter, but of energy and consciousness. The world is made of matter and consciousness while this Energy Body is made of energy and consciousness.
Becoming aware of this Subtle or Energy Body is extremely important. Subjectively is feels more “intimate” and closer to my sense of being me than the body. At this level the body is only a machine, and interface between the Subtle Body and the world. This is your first proof of Robert Adams’ and Nisargadatta’s assertion that you are not your body. You are much, much more than that. Before you know this body intimately, Robert’s assertion that the body and world are unreal is, for you, only a concept and maybe a belief that you hold.
When you know the Subtle Body intimately for a long time, and have explored it and know all its secrets, pleasures and pains, you will identify with it and concerns about the physical body tend to disappear. But you still have to take care of the apparent physical body for it sustains the Subtle Body and allows the Subtle Body to interact and communicate within the physical dimension of space and time.
However, the Subtle Body still is not you. Though it feels more intimate and closer to “you” who is watching and experiencing it, there is still a you that lies deeper, or perhaps it is better to say, is even more subtle than the Subtle Body, a deeper dimension so to speak.
I will save discussion of the next two dimensions for later. For a while I will concentrate on meditation and techniques to help you really become aware of and then identify with the Subtle, Energy Body, because it will thus prove to you that you are not the physical body and free you from it and give you increased control over it if you so desire.
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