Even to advocate against the ‘concept’ of ‘I’, I have to use the very word. Such is the dilemma of our understanding, which is wholly trapped within the concept-based illusion. There is just no way out of this illusion as our entire thinking and thereby understanding is solely based upon this illusion. It is this illusion that takes the shape of a ‘thought’ and then appears in front of us as a ‘concept’. Our entire understanding is simply a derivative of this illusion. Hence our understanding can not in any way traverse beyond this illusion. How then can we expect to be Liberated. It is a state beyond our reach. The highest state that we can expect to reach is – Enlightenment i.e. is to become aware of the illusion. To expect to be Liberated is to ask for the unattainable. The one who is Enlightened alone knows there is no Liberation. Even Buddha had to go through the process of life and death, in spite of being Enlightened. Enlightenment didn’t bring any Liberation, it just made him aware that there is no Liberation and hence all attempts to achieve it is futile.
But Enlightenment again can not be achieved it can only happen. It happens when we become aware of the existence of ‘concepts’ that covers our Consciousness. And that can only happen if we can stop thinking. Not thinking means no ‘thought’ and hence no ‘concepts’. But no ‘concepts’ means no ‘Universe’, no ‘World’, no ‘Life’ and no ‘I’.
‘ I’ which amongst all the existing ‘concepts’ is the one that is most dearest to us.
Ask yourself when did you first become aware of yourself– the day you were born, the day someone whispered your name in your ears, or perhaps few days later. No! Till then you were still unaware of your own existence. Till then you didn’t even know the word ‘I’. But as you continued to grow, people around you started talking to you. At first, all you could hear were the mere sounds. You would respond to them intuitively. Then one day, few weeks after your birth, the mind is woken from its slumber and as is its nature begins to think. It begins to contemplate upon the sound that you have been hearing and gives rise to the first ‘thought’. This is the beginning of the thinking process which then onwards doesn’t cease to function till the time of our death.
Since, the mind is prone to ‘thinking’, it keeps accumulating ‘thoughts’ within. These gathered ‘thoughts’ is then referred by the mind as ‘memory’. Each ‘memory’ represents a particular ‘thought’ which is again named by the mind as ‘experience’.
Till here nothings wrong, but the mind doesn’t stop here. It goes a step ahead. For its own convenience, the mind starts differentiating between the thoughts, labeling each of them with a different identity. It is at this stage the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ are born. From this day onwards you maintain a record of each ‘thought’, conveniently forgetting the days before the recognition of the ‘I’ occurred. It is a stage somewhat similar to a patient coming out of amnesia. You just don’t know that you existed before. All the mind can remember are the ‘thoughts’ that it had created.
Soon after the ‘I’ and ‘You’ is differentiated the mind records all the experiences between the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ and classify them further. These classifications are solely based upon ‘feelings’ – which is merely a byproduct of the continuous thinking process that the mind is indulged in. The ‘feelings’ generate few more ‘concepts’: ‘Good’, ‘Bad’, ‘Right’, ‘Wrong’, ‘True, ‘False’, ‘Love’, ‘Hate’ etc. It is this differentiation that classifies a ‘experience’ into a particular category. These categorized ‘experiences’ trigger new ‘thoughts’ causing the mind to act in a particular manner. This activity of mind is then logged into the ‘memory’ as a new ‘experience’.
The cycle continues, the result of which is ‘Life’.
Somewhere in the process you start believing that the ‘I’ was born, lived a ‘life’ and in the end, died.
But the question to ask here is, what about the existence before the realization of ‘I’. This existence though impossible to comprehend, still can not be denied.
If this existence has to be believed, then it can not be denied that ‘something’ existed before the ‘I’ was born, before any ‘concept’ was born. Similarly it can not be denied that there can be an existence after the death of ‘I’. Because what could possible exist before the ‘I’ was born can also exist after the ‘I’ dies. When this ‘something’ began to perceive, the ‘concept’ of ‘I’ was born. This means the ‘I’ only existed in the perception of this ‘something’. What exists in reality is the ‘something’, which is devoid of ‘conceptualization and hence can not be comprehended. This ‘something’ is what the illusion is not. And since we are the part of the illusion, we will never be able to identify with this ‘something’.
All that is to be attained out of this illusion is the realization– that everything around the ‘I’ and the ‘I’ itself is merely a ‘concept’.
In reality, the ‘I’ does not exist. It never did and never will!