WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LOOK DEEPLY INTO THE IMAGINED CHARACTER?
Friend: Hi Magdi,
Really resonate with your recent posts.
Can you expound on what it means or how to
“look deeply into the imagined character you take yourself to be.”?
Reply: We are all subject to the same download which we refer to as ignorance.
Namely, the belief that I am a body mind, the belief that I am a man or woman, the belief that I am a person born in time and space is the human condition. We all identify with a particular bundle of thoughts and feelings that we refer to as I. This bundle of thoughts and feelings keeps changing, but we maintain that this is what I am. A separate self, a separate consciousness made out of images and feelings.
The teaching invites us to contemplate if indeed we are this bundle of thoughts, images and feelings. The teachings invite us to inquire if indeed consciousness is personal and separate.
The inquiry is: On what basis does thought and feeling define what I am? What evidence is there that thought and feeling knows what I am?
I perceive thought. I perceive feeling. I perceive images. They are dead stuff. Why do I assume that they know what I truly am?
What is it that truly knows what I am? Is there any other knowingness of the ‘I’ besides the ‘I’?
Does the object of perception know the perceiver?
Is the object of perception knowing or does knowingness belong to knowing itself?
What is it that is knowing besides the formless ‘I’? Where does true knowingness reside?
When in your night dreams you imagine yourself to be a pink flying elephant, does that mean you are a pink flying elephant? Or are you the dreamer of the pink flying elephant? Does your dream actually transform you into a pink flying elephant or do you remain as you are irrespective of the images and feelings that arise to you?
In time, you realize that you are not the images that you perceive and that, in fact, you are the aware presence, invisible and yet absolutely undeniable.
You start to realize consciousness. The formless reality.
Looking deeply into the belief that I am a separate personal consciousness means investigating this belief, using higher reasoning and relying on the pointers that are available to you.
This is the first step.
The second step is to investigate the somatic body that remains identified as a personal self.
The grace of the guru is an invaluable blessing.