I: First Person Singular?

by Robert Wolfe on December 27th, 2011

Question: When you use the word "I" do you always mean the absolute or do you sometimes mean the organism?

Answer: From the standpoint of our habituated dualistic conditioning, the self-reference “I” designates the separate entity which we presume ourself to be. And, of course, it is this I which functions more or less effectively in the relative, material world.

The point of the nondual teachings is to determine the true nature of the conscious being which we think of as I.

So, in terms of Self-realization, it is not essential that the conception of “I,” as identified with the organism, disappear from the psyche irremediably. The question is: is there an unequivocal comprehension of “who” (or “what”) this I actually re-presents?

Prior to awakening, our I is limited to an image or a personal self. When the nondual actuality of our existence is clearly perceived, this sense of “being an I” dissolves into an awareness of be-ing which transcends identification of the person.

The I which you have identified with the organism can continue to function, to meet its bodily needs, in the relative work-day world. But the thoughts, feelings, words and actions of this material form are now witnessed in awareness from a thoroughly different perspective. This I is the I AM, or simply present awareness, in which the I-am-this or I-am-so-and-so makes its ever-changing appearance. Ramana used the term I-I to refer to that being which goes beyond the limited personified I.

Once the I-I is realized as present, in other words, the activities and experiences of the relative I are seen for what they are: of no ultimate consequence.


Posted in Living Nonduality, Monograph, Questions    Tagged with organism, I, dualistic


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