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Am I The I Am?

Jeff: Hello, is it ok to ask a question?


Isaiah: As they say here in the south, Sho nuff.
Jeff: I've been reading the e-satsangs and noticed the questions of other people, I don't
know if these are from students attending the satsangs or simply random people, but
anyway I'll proceed to ask it because it will help me formulate and understand it better
myself.
My main conceptual model is that of Nisargadatta's (or anyway my distorted
understanding of it): that there is the Absolute/Self, which cannot be described in any
way whatsoever....
Isaiah: Actually Jeff, you describe the self below when you say satchitananda. The self
is sat, meaning what is, what exists, what is real and never changing. Chit means
awareness. Awareness is not to be misunderstood as being an attribute belonging to
the self. The self IS awareness, they are synonyms. Lastly, the self is ananda which
means bliss. In the context of the self, which is free of experiential bliss, the
implication of ananda is anantum, meaning limitless. The self is not constrained by
time or space. The self is whole and complete. It lacks nothing. This fullness, free of
limitation or lack is the implied meaning of ananda, which we have seen, cannot
actually mean a feeling. It is just a description of the nature of the self. To be clear, this
self is you.
Jeff: .and in the Absolute the consciousness or "I am" principle, knowledge appears
and disappears spontaneously.
Isaiah: Yes, all objects only appear in awareness, or the self. Objects are anything and
everything that can be experienced, both internally and externally. But this is not a
random, chaotic or spontaneous process. Objects appear and disappear according to
set rules and laws, like the law of karma for instance. Everything in the apparent world
operates in an orderly fashion.
I want to point out here that Absolute with a capital A is not a good word to describe
the self for two reasons. First, it makes it seem that the self is something Great and
Grand and Extraordinary. It is not. The self is just simple, ordinary, every present
awareness. Second, for something to be absolute, there must be something relative.

This implies duality. As reality is non-dual, there is only the self. Since there is only the
self there is nothing other than it to be absolute over. This would be like saying you
were the Champion of solitaire. If there's no one to play against how could you say you
were a Champion?
Jeff: Now's the fun part and I ask to be excused for the nonsense.
Isaiah: You are excused :)
Jeff: We see that this "I am" does not remain as a pure benign Sat-chit-ananda, but it
goes on and becomes/creates all kinds of forms.
Isaiah: No. Remember, sat means what is real. The definition of real is what never
changes. You, the self, can never actually change into forms. If this was the case you
would not be real. You always, with no exception, remain pure satchitananda. It is
only owing to ignorance, called maya, that it SEEMS like you become the world. It
never actually happens.
Also, being unchanging, the self cannot perform actions. So it cannot create anything.
Jeff: In the worlds that appear, all kind of things happen, from wonderful events to
utmost monstrosities. It seems to me that the Absolute, being the one who knows
everything, is somehow forced to watch all the whims of the "I am".
Isaiah: The self is the I in I am. They are the same. You are the self. So to be clear,
the statement I am is a statement of your identity and nature. It means, I, the self,
exist. You, the self, are of the nature of sat, existence. You are all that is. Since you are
all that is, you see nothing but yourself, pure awareness, not a world wonderful or
monstrous. This is the purpose of inquiry, to investigate the apparent world and
determine if it actually real.
Jeff: It's like a docile parent who is forced to satisfy all the capricious demands of the
spoiled child, no matter how outrageous they are. It seems bizarre to me that the allmighty Absolute assumes this role. Imagine a husband being beaten by his wife and her
flip-flops. Then, after the beating is over, the husband stands up and proclaims : "I rule
this place!"
Isaiah: The self is ananta, limitless. It is never affected by the apparent world and what
appears to happen in it. The idea that the self is ever affected by the world is just that,

an idea, a false belief, and is the source of all suffering, called samsara. The idea that
the self is ever affected by anything or ever assumes any role of any kind is only owing
to maya, ignorance. It seems like it does, but it does not. These ideas and beliefs must
be investigated with inquiry, guided by the scriptures of Vedanta, to see why they are
not true.
Jeff: Would you say that enlightenment is when the Absolute is fed up and kicks the "I
am" out of the window?
Isaiah: No. The self does not get fed up. It does not have emotions. Also, since it is
limitless, unaffected by anything, why would it get fed up? Lastly, if the self cannot kick
the I am out the window because it is the I. You can never get rid of the self. It is
you, remember. You cannot get rid of yourself. You are what exists always, and never
changes.
Enlightenment is just knowledge. It is the firm discrimination between yourself (the
self, the I', the absolute), that which is real, and everything else, that which is unreal
(the world and all experiences).
Jeff: Yes, I know that Vedanta says that enlightenment is only for the mind, and upon
enlightenment it is understood that "I am limitless awareness".
Isaiah: The self is never bound so it does not need freedom (enlightenment). However,
Jeff, the apparent person, does not understand he is the self. There is ignorance about
his true nature in his mind. Because of that he suffers. So when we say enlightenment
is for the mind, we mean enlightenment is for the apparent person in the apparent
reality because that apparent person does not disappear at the advent of self
knowledge. Therefore that person can use the self knowledge to negotiate their way in
the apparent reality.
Jeff: So, I'm limitless awareness which is being bossed around by the "I am", the
spoiled brat, at random intervals?
Isaiah: You, limitless awareness, as mentioned above are never affected by anything.
So no worries, you are not being bossed around by anything. You are the boss. You just
don't understand it yet.
Also, the self cannot be bossed by the I am because the self is the I am.

Jeff: This doesn't make sense on some very fundamental level, don't you agree? How
can one be satisfied with that?
Isaiah: It doesn't make sense because, as shown above, it isn't true. So again, no
worries. It is simply a matter of understanding why this isn't true, for which inquiry is
needed.
Jeff: In any case, I understand that my question is weird, may you make out of it
anything you deem appropriate. Before ending my email, let my express my deep
gratitude to you, James and all teachers of Vedanta, for the kind guidance you offer. I
discovered Vedanta recently and I'm very happy that I was able to remove years of
distorted views and erroneous beliefs almost instantly.
Jeff (by the way that's not my real name, but anyway)
Isaiah: You are questions are not weird. They are all relevant. Thanks for asking. Let
me know if you have any more questions.
Much love,
Isaiah