The Eternal State ~ Advaita Nonduality

05 nov 08 - identity is a myth

the heart is where your home is | writings | basics | pointers | archives 2009 | dialogues

“Identity” Is A MYTH

Q: I listened to your reading of Ramesh Balsekar's transcript to David.  It seems that Ramesh was saying that there are two aspects to identity.  There is identifying with the body which doesn't cause suffering and then there is identifying as the body and believing that this body is the source or initiator of the actions that happen through it.  The belief in being an initiator or sourcer (if that is a word) is what brings about suffering. 

C: I disagree. There are not “two aspects of identity”. There IS NO IDENTITY in Reality – none whatsoever. The assumed identification as a thought-sense “I am me” is the core of suffering, NOT believing that a body is the source of its actions. What we try to point out is that the core of ALL so-called identity – whether there be identification with “body”, “mind”, “spirit”, etc or any other concept - can only arise IF there is a fundamental wrong assumption of a core entity that stands apart from the whole. This is pointed to as the assumption that there is an “I” identity that could then be further identified as any thing at all! But is an assumption TRUE? Where’s your proof that “you” are a thought - or any “thing” - apart from awareness? Moreover, while you assert a belief that “identifying with the body doesn't cause suffering”, isn’t it utterly obvious that identifying as that changing and gradually dying body form is bound to produce suffering? Isn’t it clear that when you think of yourself as a “dying thing”, you would naturally be afraid? Because it IS absolutely true that the body WILL expire sooner or later!

Q: It seems that there will still be suffering even without the belief in being an initiator.

C: As pointed out above, it is the false belief that the “I” thought is what you are that is the root of suffering.

Q: For example this body (me) ….

C: And THERE IT IS – the core assumption of a me and then the add-on of "me as a body". But without the presence of the simple awareness that is always here now, before any notion of "me" plus the added notion of "me as a body", these ideas could not even appear. Awareness is the necessary foundation for it all and that awareness is what you really are.

Look: where exactly IS this “me”? What is “it” made of? Does it actually exist as a substantial object at all? "Me" is a thought. "Body" is a thought. What is that IN which these thoughts appear and fade? That is NOT a thought, NOT any thing at all, yet, IT IS. That is the Real You. Nonconceptual prior-to-language Is-Ness.

Now, when the identity (the notion of a “me” apart from The All) appears and is misconstrued to be the self, and then extends itself onto the ever changing physical apparatus, the suffering ensues.

There is just this one error of mistaken identity to correct: This is really good news! There is no need to deal with the array that radiates off the core misconception of what we are: just go right to the heart of the matter and deal with the core, the fundamental mistake, and the whole house of cards collapses.

Q: …. (this me) has an aversion to getting fat or the thought of getting fat.  It also has an aversion to the thought of exercise and an attraction to the thought of eating sweets at times.  It's seen that the aversion and attraction to various things is out of control.  That still doesn't make it any less painful when they conflict.  That seems like suffering.

C: Clearly that is a product of taking yourself to be a body, and a mind – a “me” -  that cherishes preferences! In addition, if you really knew beyond doubt that all that happens is happening out of anyone’s control there would be no suffering. The suffering comes as the thought of "me" resists and makes efforts (which are thoughts resisting other thoughts) to exert control - but there is NO possibility of really controlling anything with thought. Perhaps, you - as an assumed entity - just assume that you don't have enough "self-control", rather than recognizing that there is NO “control center” in you anywhere.

As is always pointed out here, all suffering happens from this single apparent cause, which is believing you are any thing at all, and seeing that this structure of conceptual thought arises due to the fundamental error; in other words, 1) Not knowing what you truly are, "namely" the Empty Fullness of Awareness Prior-To-Consciousness-Wakefullness, and 2) taking yourself to be a thing called "me" when what you are is not a thing, not a concept, not a perception and not a person separate from this clear awareness – your undeniable being which never changes and which you absolutely cannot deny.

Q: Nisargadatta says that I'm not this body at all - that what I am is this awareness of everything which isn't separate from anything. 

C: Full stop!

And I must repeat, isn’t it obvious that identifying as that changing and gradually dying body form is bound to produce suffering? This is so clear, that when you think of yourself as a dying thing you would naturally be afraid as it is absolutely true that the body WILL expire.

Q: The body is just one of the objects that arise in this subjectivity.  At least that seems to be what he's saying. 

C: "The body” is a CONCEPT arising in what you are. In essence “the body” is the Light of Being-Awareness, arising as energy patterning and appearing; it only looks solid, but in fact it’s all just energy appearing as a pattern of light, the light of pure awareness prior to concepts; much like a hologram appears as a multidimensional object only because there is the Laser light seeming to cause it’s appearance, but isn’t it clear that the holographic pattern is actually MADE UP of that Laser light?

It’s the same with the entire manifest appearance. All there is is awareness-being-loving appearing as Nothing/Everything. That cannot be grasped – the answer is NOT in the mind - as is always pointed out. How could thought grasp non-thought?

Q: So does identity with an object (in this case this body) create suffering after all?  Or maybe it's mistaking subjectivity to be one of the objects (this body).  If I am this body then I am suffering. 

C: Again it is the sense of being a separate “me” that gives rise to suffering. Start from the basic fact that you ARE, and that you are always aware that you are. Even in deep sleep you - as that Awareness - ARE - and that is clear in knowing "I was asleep, now I am awake". That Beingness, which some call Ordinary Awareness, is nonconceptual, indescribable, yet cannot be asserted OR denied! Know this as your real Self. Then look into the space which is always right here right now, clear and empty, and see if the notion that you are a “me” (whether you think of that “me” as a body, a thought, or any other passing fancy) and see what is seen. A subtle believed-in thought-sense or feeling-sense “I am me” is at the core. That is the root cause. See if you can find any actual entity! This "removes the cause” (so to speak). Though there never was an actual cause, it was only assumed!

See the nonexistence of the cause and the effects cannot remain. Simply seeing that “me” thought AS a thought - with no substance or existence apart from pure awareness, in your immediate and direct experience, and you see that this "I" or "me" thought or feeling is just a passing arising-presence hanging out for a time, and then fading away. It’s just moving energy - and NOT what you are.

You are that timelessness in which all of this temporal appearance appears – it arises, from nowhere, has an apparent temporary existence, and subsides back into the nowhere. Take that No Where No Thing to be what you are. Because, it IS! You are not what you think, feel, perceive, or believe yourself to be! Nothing temporary is real! Your True Nature is behind and beyond and within and all around all appearances, thoughts, movements, feelings etc. - and even behind consciousness of being, and THAT True You is not a thing at all.

In short, YOU are No Thing No Where. Unborn and ever free.

Q: This means that it's not getting what the thoughts running through it say it wants.  If I'm just subjectivity then these thoughts are arising and arrange themselves in such a way that suffering happens.  Are these statements accurate or am I (this body) misunderstanding what these folks are pointing to?

C: You are just thinking up more concepts here. But NO concept is accurate or true! Even to claim your nature as pure subjectivity is going back into concepts and ignoring the fresh and obvious presence of being - the Is-Ness before the words or sensations appear. Before the next thought or feeling happens YOU ARE. Staying put there is effortless. All the effort and struggle to attain what you already always are is doomed to failure so why not just stop here and now and be the space, be the nonconceptual … why go back into words? Just see that you are and that is beyond doubt, and notice what you NAME or LABEL yourself as is only a bunch of concepts based on the erroneous concept of a separate “me”.

Recognizing that there is no person in the space cuts through all the endless spiritual concepts and beliefs by rooting out the appearing yet false "cause" of all suffering – the belief in a “me”.

Do some looking into these pointers, looking – NOT thinking about or reading about it. You are giving all those thoughts of an endlessly analytic mind way too much credibility here! It’s all nonsense in the end game.

You are, and that is already direct, immediate and known. You are That. That is really about all there is to this stuff!


Q: You wrote I think you were saying to see if the notion that you are a "me" is true. 

C: That's right. It was a slip of the editor ('me'):-)

Here is the update: Then look into the space which is always right here right now, clear and empty, and see if the notion that you are a “me” (whether you think of that “me” as a body, a thought, or any other passing fancy) and see what is seen. See if that notion is true.

I love that you caught that! Clearly you are looking and investigating with earnestness and sincerity. Good on ya.

Q: There is a sense that I'm looking for this entity.  Then when I look for a looker there isn't a looker to be found. 

C: Right. Then isn’t it clear that there is nothing to be found and no-one to find nothing?

Q: And it ain't the body looking for this.  It didn't look under the mattress or in drawers or anything.  So it's the mind looking but that's not true either.  What I call mind (what calls mind "mind"?) is just a stream of thoughts.  There isn't a mind at all.  Yet the thought I'm looking is persistent even if it's not clear what is looking and how can looking happen without a looker. 

C: Drop that story and keep looking to see if you really are separate. The story of “me” is an addiction you must break. Without the core belief in "me" all thoughts and analysis are absolutely meaningless. It takes the core assumption "i am me" to make all that mental noise mean something; and it always seems to mean something about that "me", doesn't it?

Q: This is a horrible horrible mind fuck. 

C: If you say so! Why do you keep repeating a lie?

Q: So I believe I am me but how can there be belief without a believer. 

C: There cannot. See this: That "me" IS "the believer"! Beliefs and believer arise together as what you can call the fixated self-centered ego identity. So this proves that the core believer – the me – is still not being directly challenged! Now look: if there is no believed-to-be-real "me-believer" to be found in the space that you are, then what does that say about all beliefs? And questions? And doubts? And all the poor me stories? Story and storyteller arise together. Doubts and doubter arise together. Me and mine. I and other. All language – and you ignore the space that You ARE - and then even worse you eat these mental noises, these thought-words - which makes you sick. You eat a cardboard picture cutout of the meal and wonder why your hunger is not satisfied. This is absolute IGNORANCE. The cure for ignorance is staring you right in the face. It’s your own True Self, empty, clear and utterly obvious. But you stubbornly insist on maintaining your sense of self as a separate suffering clod of grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I got news: The world doesn’t care. Almost everyone is in the same boat - always focusing “what about me”? When will I be free?

Q: How can there be suffering without somebody suffering yet it is believed and seems to be happening.

C: There can be NO suffering without the BELIEF that you are a person who suffers, a “me” that is whining and griping about “poor me”! This is the end game, and the only player is you – the I AM of your own consciousness of being itself, PRIOR to this conceptual entity (‘I’m ME’) which you still defiantly assume is  what you are.

This notion remains as your fixation only due to lack of firm and committed investigation. This is where the pointing stops and it becomes YOUR job to challenge that core assumption. All the while, YOU ARE. You deny with words that wordless presence that is inescapable. The only issue is that you continue - despite all the warnings the Universe send you - to take yourself to be your thoughts and feelings and ignore the presence, the consciousness of Awareness, that is the Reality. You are that reality and you deny is at your own peril!

Cut the story, cut the whining, cut the bullshit and REALLY LOOK into this. You never were this “defective person” you ASSUME you are.

Know the truth that sets you free: YOU ARE and YOU KNOW YOU ARE. ALL else is bullshit! That is really all we point out here. Give a call if you like, I have some time around 1 PM Central or 5 PM central.


Follow-up (After a phone chat)

Q: I'm looking at this notion that I am this body to see if it's true.  Where this notion totally breaks down is that I am aware of the sensations and images that make up this "body".  This "body" is totally made up of images and sensation and thoughts like "these thoughts are inside this body" or "this body is or I am suffering."  I am aware of all these things or thoughts so how could I be one of them?  That's where the belief in "I am this body" breaks down.  So it's a start.  Thank you for the help.  I'll keep in touch.

C: Okay!

If you'll send me a land line or cell [hone I will call you next time.

Love, Charlie


“There is no greater mystery than this: Being Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality”. – Sri Ramana Maharshi

Get Our Free "Nowsletter"

Your e-mail will never be shared or sold

To Get a Weekly Nonduality "Nowsletter", Register Here


Heart To Heart Donations ~ If you'd like to donate to support the message you may do so with this button. Just fill in any amount from (minimum) US $5 up. (NOTE - Donations to The Eternal State - Advaita Nonduality are not tax-deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes). If you prefer, you can mail a check or money order for any amount you want to offer to Charlie Hayes, 1111 S. Oakwood Rd. #1308, Enid OK 73703.


home  | consultations |  writings | talks | audio-video | nonduality books | site map | links



Legal Noise: This web site and our newsletter may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you are the owner of some material appearing and wish to have it removed please contact and it shall be done asap.


NOTE If there is persistent and deep psychological suffering, please make sure there is not a physical component. If you have thoughts of suicide there may be a mechanical element ... get a good physician and/or psychiatrist (NOT a psychologist) to look at the machine and see if it has some chemical imbalance. Non-duality is NOT a substitute for proper medical assessment and care!