“Observe, and in that observation there is neither the “observer” nor the “observed” – there is only observation taking place.”— Jiddu Krishnamurti
The practice of meditation has been one of the most important influences in my spiritual development. When I first began meditating, one of the affirmations/mantras I’d repeat to myself was, “I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts, I am the one observing my thoughts.” And after a while of meditating, I was able to create separation from my thoughts and watch them from the observer’s seat. This led me to the discovery that I really wasn’t my thoughts. That I am the awareness sitting quietly in the background simply observing. And this realization was a significant moment within my journey of self-discovery.
Of course, once I knew who I was—I shared this mantra, “You may have thoughts, but you’re not your thoughts, you’re the one observing your thoughts” with anyone who would listen. I struck gold. It was such a liberating insight and I wanted as many people as possible to experience the same enlightenment.
And then, a year or so later, someone asked, “So, who is the one observing the observer? In order to realize that you’re observing something, there has to be someone/something observing that too, right?” These questions shook my world. It was a gut punch. Everything I’d built my new spiritual identity around fell apart. I didn’t want to separate from this self-concept that I had attached myself to. It felt like a loss. It forced me to reassess the question, “Who am I?”
With that, my meditation practice got a bit more complicated. Whenever I’d reach that place of awareness where I’d find myself in the seat of the observer, I’d think to myself, “Who is observing the observer?” I needed to know. And that question led to my awareness getting caught up in the ponderings of who I truly was. Monkey mind. And then one day, I had this vision. Have you ever stood in between two mirrors? And when you look into one of the mirrors, you see an infinite number of reflections of yourself. That’s what I saw. And then my soul said something along the lines of, “You’re all of it.”
This made total sense to me. Of course, for a while, my ego pushed me hard to pull back the layers and get to the final reflection in the mirror. But, that too was futile and I eventually surrendered to the mystery.
So, what does it mean to be “All of it”? How do we define ourselves? Do we have to? Personally, I stopped trying to figure it out (pardon the pun—“all of it”) and accepted the fact that I’m simply an infinite being living a human experience.
With that being said, I’ll leave you with a few quotes from gurus who have left behind breadcrumbs for us to follow.
“What a frustrating thing! It’s like having a flash light that you shine on this and that, on a memory, on a plan, on a sensation, on a feeling but when does the flashlight shine on itself? And the flashlight itself is that part of you, which you could call….whatever you call it – it’s just going to be a word which isn’t going to be it, but let’s call it awareness. Awareness has no time. It has no space, it doesn’t die, it wasn’t born, it’s not going anywhere. Everybody is having continuous experience or continuous understanding or resting in awareness, but you are so fascinated with what you are being aware of, you never notice the awareness itself. Isn’t that strange?” – Ram Dass
“Through our eyes, the Universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the Universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the Universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” – Alan Watts
“We don’t ‘have’ a life, we are life itself, and simultaneously we are the witness to life and all its expressions as it unfolds.
Reflect: if life is what we have then we will lose it one day, for all possessions are impermanent. Such a belief automatically places us in the position of the body which is time-bound and perishable.
But when we come to the understanding that we are life itself then all fears go, as this understanding places us in the position of consciousness, which is formless, timeless and imperishable. The belief that we are merely our bodies makes us anxious and hurried, for on a subconscious level we are driven to get as much as we can before it all ends. This has been the ongoing trauma of the human being throughout the ages. However, as consciousness itself, we are not time-bound. Our mind and world becomes a wiser and more peaceful existence, for we know inside our hearts that we are the eternal.” – Mooji