I have been studying the work of Nisargadatta Maharaj, specifically his book “I Am That” with Adyashanti. It is a source of truth that resonates deeply with me, and I go back to his teachings quite often.
I had a challenge this weekend, in that my former spouse and I had a significant conversation about the extent to which we knew each other as the people we are today. He suggested to me that there is a difference between how I present myself here in my blog, and how he experiences me. I became defensive inside myself, and began to explain how it was he could see that. I spoke about how infrequently he interacts with me. I thought of all the ways I am not a full embodiment of the things that are awakening in me. And then I stopped, recognizing that as ego.
I was reminded of these words. “Defense is the first act of war. If you tell me that I’m mean, rejecting, hard, unkind, unfair, I say “Thank you, sweetheart, I can find all these in my life. I have been everything you say and more. Tell me everything you see, and together we can help me understand. Through you, I come to know myself. Without you, how can I know the places in me that are unkind and invisible? You bring me to myself.” – Byron Katie
I do not want to defend my ego. My ego is my patterns of mind, and the more I defend it, the farther I move from the truth of who I am. The farther I move from coming to full Liberation and awakening. Is it true that there is a gap between my awakening insights and how I move through the world? Absolutely there is. And what a gift to have someone with whom I have deep old grooves of ego and pain to be my testing ground! How much love in that soul to be open to that painful exchange so I can fulfill my desire of Awakening! Immediately, my breathing softens and I feel my self from a different place.
“It is such an immense burden to walk around with our Somebody-ness, to protect it and try to assert it all the time because of our idea about our Self. It is so fragile. Yet when we identify with it, it seems so real, and so solid. And so when we awaken out of it, when we realize our consciousness was caught in the dream of our mind, and like any dream, until you become conscious of it, your dream is completely real. When you wake up, all of a sudden you realize it wasn’t real at all. My whole sense of my Self, good bad or indifferent, was a dream my mind made up. The experience of emptiness then is very liberating.” – Adyashanti
I am less concerned with how I am perceived than I am with how often I can remember to return to the “I Am.” I recall the words of Nisargadatta Maharaj and his own path: “My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense ‘I am’ and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense ‘I am’, it may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked!”