Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Observe and Notice
“It takes only alertness to see habits of thinking and how these contract us. When we see that almost all of our existence is mechanical repetition we automatically step out of the pattern and into observing… Observing itself has its own taste and needs no addition.”
– Jean Klein, Who Am I?
This quote goes hand-in-hand with Nisargadatta's I AM THAT. Observe the "I" before everything else: before thoughts, before actions, before the person does or says anything. There's always that moment before anything happens. Unfortunately, in most people that moment seems so fast and fleeting, they hardly notice it. But it's there. And it's also there during thoughts, conversations, and actions. The observing is there before, after, and during the personal dramas. If it wasn't being observed, how would you know anything is happening at all?
Notice "I exist" before everything else.
Notice how repetitive thoughts are. They're like a broken record, the sole purpose of which is to tell you who you think you are. Thoughts don't tell you who you really are, they just repeat everything you've learned over the years—the things others have told you and things that you've heard—in order to establish an identity. But notice how thoughts only derive their information from the past and the projections of the future. They're never in real-time. The only thoughts you experience in real-time are the ones about what happened or what could happen.
But even as thoughts happen, there is something that is noticing them. That's the gold mine right there. Borrowing Peter Brown's favorite phrase: it's not nothing. It is full. "It has its own taste and needs no additions." The desire to add something to ourselves—more information, more things, more people, more money, etc—is a thought-driven/identity-driven phenomenon. And as already discussed, thoughts are nothing more than repetitive garbage collection of the past and the non-existent future. Notice the fact of that.
Before anything else, I AM. Feel it. Know it. Stay with it.