You have grown to know yourself to be a thing – the body and the mind, the person – and to know that you are not that passing insect, the screen in front of you or the sun shining above. Thanks to your big brain wiring up in your infancy, you know yourself to be a person in a world of other things. Once upon a time, before that wiring, you were small and cute and consciousness only, which is simply the awareness of being present, the knowledge that say ‘I am’, that familiar everyday sense of existence, that which is known. Now, if you are fortunate enough to have your body and mind fully intact, you are a living thing looking out at the world through your eyes, moving around on your feet, picking things up with your hands, touching, smelling, tasting, hearing and lost in an almost constant stream of thoughts and feelings. You effortlessly claim each and every experience of the body-mind as your own, because you take yourself to be that body-mind, and everything else is something other than you. You are, you exist, and you identify as being the body-mind, the person, a separate self.
Fantastic, but all that, this immersive first-person perspective of being a person in a world, is within the round of experience – like a movie, like a dream, like a play.
The round of experience is a term I sometimes give to the present moment, because it’s a term that helped me to see what is. Some argue that it’s an oval; but hey, the round of experience sounds way better than the oval of experience. Look at your present moment experience – it’s like a round or oval space with everything that is, right here and now, within it, and absolute nothingness surrounding it. It is the known that we explored in the last post. Everything that appears, the entirety of what’s present, is in the round, and nothing is outside of it, not even thoughts, feelings, sensations or memories. The sense of identity, of being the body-mind and nothing else, appears in the round. It is a part of that which is being known.
Are you that which is being known? No, you are the knowing of it, you stand apart from it. And remember: all that is known is nothing but the knowing of it – this is the effortlessness of what is.
So, make a cup of tea, sit back for a while and ponder on why you feel so utterly separate from everything else.