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The Infinite "I"

You Are The Light


Jesus said:
"I" is the light (of awareness)
that shines upon all things. "I" is the All
from which everything emanates
and to which everything returns.

St. Thomas


In a talk, given some time ago in India, entitled: The Power of Not Knowing, Eckhart Tolle quoted from an English translation of the Kena Upanishad the following lines which he said were an important 'pointer' to our true Self.

Not that which the eye sees, but that whereby the eye can see,
Know that alone to be Brahman, the Eternal, and not what people here adore.

Not that which the ear hears, but that whereby the ear can hear,
Know that alone to be Brahman, the Eternal, and not what people here adore.

Not that which the mind thinks, but that whereby the mind can think,
Know that alone to be Brahman, the Eternal, and not what people here adore.

Eckhart then went on to say ...

The word "I" is the most frequently used word in the English langueage ... or in any language. Usually, when people use the word "I", they are refering to 'me and my story' -- the conditioned entity -- the fiction that I identify with as 'me.'

But there is a deeper meaning to "I" -- that is, the delusion of "I" -- the delusion of (the egoic) self. For ultimately, "I" is a sacred word, (indicating the unborn, eternal Self).

"I", on the normal level of human conscousness, expresses delusion, which is what the Buddha recognised when he saw the delusion of 'self' -- he referred to that "I" and he saw through it.

And so, when that delusion is recognised, (it can be seen) that recognition already originates from the unconditioned Consciousness. The delusional entity cannot recognise its own delusion, so the recognition of it is already the light shining through from underneath, so to speak.

From there (this unconditioned Consciousness) arises the recognition of the delusion of the story-based, form-based, mind-based, identification-based identity.

This is what Jesus referred to when he said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Not, "Before Abraham was, I was already." There is neither 'was' nor 'will be' in "I", it IS eternal Presence -- eternal 'Nowness'. And this is what the Upanishad refers to also -- it is the Formless, it is the Unconditioned.

It (the infinite unconditioned "I") is known, but never in a subject/object relationship -- it cannot be known in such a way. So one could say, it cannot be known at all -- you can only BE it. Realise that you ARE it, but cannot know it as you know an object in consciousnesss.

For thousands of years, people have been trying to make God into an object in consciousness -- the idea of God, the image of God, statements about (God) etc.

This is why the Upanishad says, "Not what people here adore" -- that is not God -- not that which you see, not that which you hear, not that which you think, not (even) that which you believe in, because belief is thought.

You believe in God -- that also is "Not what people here adore" -- it is a mental idol -- ultimately, it is an ideology.

You believe in God and the person next to you believes in Communism -- two ideologies! So it's "Not what people here adore" -- not that which the mind thinks, not that which the mind believes, but That which makes all thinking, all believing, all sense-perception possible. The Formless, out of which all forms arise.

And That is the innermost "I", the (formless) Essence that gets mixed up in your life with forms -- that is, the deepest innermost Self.

~ Transcribed from a talk given by Eckhart Tolle in Rishikesh, India, as recorded in DVD series, Touching the Eternal -- Disk 3. entitled: The Power of Not Knowing. This DVD series is avaiable through our online store.

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I wonder if I know him
In whose speech is my voice,
In whose movement is my being,
Whose skill is in my lines,
Whose melody is in my songs
In joy and sorrow.
I thought he was chained within me,
Contained by tears and laughter,
Work and play.
I thought he was my very self
Coming to an end with my death.
Why then in a flood of joy do I feel him
In the sight and touch of my beloved?
This 'I' beyond self I found
On the shores of the shining sea.
Therefore I know
This 'I' is not imprisoned within my bounds.
Losing myself, I find him
Beyond the borders of time and space.
Through the Ages
I come to know his Shining Self
In the Iffe of the seeker,
In the voice of the poet.
From the dark clouds pour the rains.
I sit and think:
Bearing so many forms, so many names,
I come down, crossing the threshold
Of countless births and deaths.
The Supreme undivided, complete in himself,
Embracing past and present,
Dwells in Man.
Within Him I shall find myself -
The 'I' that reaches everywhere.

~ Rabindranath Tagore, "I".

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You Are The Light

The statement (by Jesus), 'I am the light of the world', can be looked at in the light of the four levels of consciousness of the Upanishad tradition. We can ask which 'I' of Jesus can make this statement?

There are four different 'I's of Jesus; the first is the individual 'I' of Jesus as a human being, conditioned by his personal consciousness and his personal memory.

The second 'I' is the dreaming consciousness of Jesus, conditioned by his Jewish identity, his Jewish memory and the spiritual tradition in which he had been raised.

The third 'I' of Jesus is the 'I' of the deep sleep consciousness in which his personal memory and collective memory was open to the transcendent mystery of God, the experience of himself as the Son of the Father. In the silence of his Jewish consciousness Jesus discovered that he had God as the foundation of his consciousness; he discovered that he was the manifestation of the transcendent mystery.

He used the words 'Abba' or 'Father' and the word 'Son' to communicate the intimacy between the two 'I's. However, these words and their meaning could not be understood within the Jewish tradition.

But Jesus had to go beyond even that level of consciousness in which he experienced himself and the Father as one. He realized that beyond his identity as the Son, beyond the 'I' of the Son, is the 'I' of the Father and that this 'I' of the Father is the light of the world. The 'I' of Jesus that said, 'I am the light of the world', is not any of the three unreal 'I's, but the fourth, the Thuriya, in which the real 'I' is God, Brahman, truth, light, life, the God of the Upanishads.

Jesus was saying that his real 'I' is the light of the world, that is to say, is God, and that he had no real existence outside God. Other statements such as, 'I am the truth', or 'I am the light', can be understood in the same way; it is God who made these statements for Jesus realized that his real self was God.

The realization of his own real self as God would have been incomplete had Jesus not also realized that the real self of every human being also is God, or the light of the world. So at the same time he was able to say, 'You are the light of the world,' realizing that this light, this awareness, is buried deep in the heart and humanity was not aware of it.

So Jesus proclaimed, 'You are the light of the world but you have put that light under a bushel (basket) and are living in the darkness of ignorance.' He called upon his followers and the whole of humanity to 'realize that the light is buried with you. Put it on the stand and let it shine forth!'

He told people that they were the 'salt of the earth' but that they had lost this consciousness with the consequence that the earth had lost its meaning and purpose.

Jesus did not say, 'You must become the light of the world,' or 'You must become the salt of the earth.' He was not telling people what they should become but what they already were; that they already were the salt of the earth and the light of the world, but that they did not realize it.

If Jesus had told people that they had to become the salt of the earth or the light of the world he would have been placing an intolerable burden upon the shoulders of humanity and this would not have been good news, but bad news. The call of Jesus to every person is to realize who he or she already is in the depth of their heart, be aware of that which they have forgotten. This is the liberating message of Jesus.

When Jesus said, 'I and the Father are one', again it is not the limited or unreal 'I' of Jesus who is making the statement; it is his real 'I', the foundation of his human consciousness that in the Vedic tradition is called the atman.

From his fourth level of consciousness Jesus was saying that his foundation was one with the Father, the source, the ground of the whole universe. This is just what the sages of the Upanishads had said centuries before when they realized that atman, the foundation of human consciousness, and Brahman, the foundation of the universe, are one and the same.

Jesus' great statement, 'I and the Father are one', is almost identical with the statement of the Upanishads, 'Ayatman Brahman' that is, 'Atman is Brahman'

~ by Br. John Martin (aka Swami Sahajananda)

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The Way, The Truth and the Life

Jesus' words, as reported in the gospel of John, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life', are: another expression of the relationship of non-duality.

Traditionally, this statement has been interpreted to mean that Jesus is the only way to God. He is the truth and the life and there is no other way to salvation. Jesus Christ is the only saviour, and outside Christ there is no salvation and Christianity is the only way to salvation.

The words 'way', 'truth' and 'life' all refer to the one reality, that is, God who is truth and life. When Jesus said, 'I am the truth' and 'I am the life' we should not identify the 'I' of Jesus with his limited and unreal 'I'. The 'I' of Jesus making this statement is his real 'I' who, as we have seen, is God.

Jesus was saying, 'My real 'I' who is God is the way, the truth and the life.' The real 'I' of Jesus, as the universal consciousness in which all of humanity is present, is the way the truth and the life.

The word 'way' implies a road or a path, conditioned by time and space, which has a beginning and which moves towards a particular point in the future. However, as we have seen, the radical message of Jesus is about the end of all ways, that there is no way to God.

The great sentences, or, as they say in India, the mahavakhyas, of Jesus all reflect the experience Jesus had of his unity with God and with creation at the deepest level of his being. If we understand just one of these great sentences we understand the others and the whole of his teaching.

~ by Bro. John Martin (aka Swami Sahajananda) From: You are the Light: Rediscovering the Eastern Jesus pp. 205-208.

~ Other articles on this site by Bro. John Martin

~ You will find details of Bro. John Martin's books HERE.

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