As we know, the greatest source of stress is our belief, faith and trust in our identity and conditioned mind. Particularly in challenging times we become more entrenched in the idea that we are ‘somebody’: we have responsibilities and obligations; we are treated unfairly; we have problems. The identity is then strengthened. It is nearly impossible for the conditioned mind to conceive that the identity is not real, that this thing we call ‘me’ or ‘I’ is not real. Nevertheless that is the simple truth.
Consider all the things you think about you. What are your obligations, responsibilities, failures, and inadequacies in this moment? Now consider this question: where do they live? In what part of your body are they to be found? Where do they exist? Where do any of the ideas that you have about who you are exist? Of course they can’t be found; they are just thoughts, ideas – patterns of mental activity. So what can be found that is true about you? There is one thing that is certainly true; you are aware, you are conscious, you hear these questions, you can reflect on them. Something in you thinks. Something within you can answer questions. But what is that? Where is that found? Something in you is aware of many things in this moment. Something in you is listening, looking, and feeling. Is that the same as what you call ‘you’?
Take the time to notice that that which is observing and aware is also observing and aware of those thoughts but it is not the source of those thoughts. Something observes when you say, “I have too much responsibility”. Something observes when you say, “I failed”, but it is untouched by your sense of failure, your despair, your level of responsibility. The one thing we can confidently state is true about ourselves is that we are conscious. We know that we are conscious because we experience it right now. We are aware.
If someone you have never met walked into the room right now and examined you closely without any input from you, what could they know about you? Where could they find all the things that you call ‘you’? Even if they could open your brain and look in it they would not find anything that they could say you thought ‘you’ were. None of it exists in reality. There is a body, there is a mind, an activity of intelligence, a consciousness.
How can we come to accept and experience the truth? We must recognize the illusion of all sense of identity. We must strip away everything until the only thing that is left is that which is incontrovertably true – that about which there can be no argument, no disagreement. What can be proven to be true in this moment? You can say, “I am a failure and I am inadequate” but you cannot prove that to me. You cannot make that true. You cannot make me see that as indisputable truth.
So what is absolutely, unconditionally true right now? Consciousness. Consciousness is here right now. The only thing that remains absolutely true in this moment that would strip away all ideas, thoughts, and beliefs is consciousness. We are conscious. We can hear ourselves think. We can call it awareness – we are aware of consciousness. We are aware of many things. Our conscious mind is receiving all kinds of information but there is that within us which is observing even that.
So we can see without a doubt that this moment is real. What are the qualities of this moment? When we fully pay attention to only this moment we realize that it never ends and it never began. This is the only moment there is. When we truly engage our consciousness and awareness fully in this moment we can experience the truth of unity. In this moment, the moment can be neither bad or good, right or wrong – it is just what it is. The only thing that is true about me in this moment is that I AM: I AM not something; I AM not somebody; I AM. There is nothing else. Everything emerges from I AM. Everything is made new in this moment.