What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

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emviem
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:21 pm

What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

Postby emviem » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:57 pm

Hi, I came across your website while I was searching about Nisargadatta Maharaj. I recently finished reading "I'm That" from beginning to end. Actually, I think I need to read the book again and again, like reading a sacred book again and again, until I truly overcome the matrix of the so-called body-mind, or ego.

So, although I'm aware that reading the book once is not enough to me, I thought I can search about other books on Maharaj's message and during a recent search on the web, I came across your "Nisargadatta's Method" page. I was intrigued by the suggestion that "I'm That" is very much colored by Maurice Frydman, that some other Maharaj books, especially those edited by Dunn, are closer to the actual talk of him. I don't know much about Frydman and much less about Dunn.

So, about my question... I'm a Turkish citizen and in the Turkish translation of "I'm That", the concept "I am" is translated as "Benim", which can be back-translated as something like "It is me" (although it also happens to be the translation of the concept "my"). I also read the English version of the book and although I understand what "I am" means in general and what it might mean as meant by Maharaj or other similar teachers, I am uneasy about it. I mean, what does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean in Maharaj's teaching? Is it closer in meaning to "I am me" or "I exist" or "I am everything" or "only I am real" or other or a mxture of these and other meanings?

He says things like "nothing is unless you are". I feel more an emphasis on "existence" in such phrases and I tend to conclude that "I am" means more like "I exist". All the "identity" discussion seems to be related to the concept of existence. What would you suggest? Am I missing or confusing something very elemental?

Freddie Yam
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:24 pm

Re: What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

Postby Freddie Yam » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:14 am

emviem wrote: Is it closer in meaning to "I am me" or "I exist" ...?

In Nisargadatta's lingo, "I Am" means "sense of existence" or "knowledge that I exist." Nisargadatta uses many synonyms for "I Am" including "conscious presence" or just plain "consciousness."

He often calls it "the knowledge I am" not just "I am."

emviem wrote:I tend to conclude that "I am" means more like "I exist".

Yep.

But the I Am also involves knowledge of existence, i.e. consciousness.

Ultimately the goal is to transcend the I Am and recognize your identity with its witness which he calls parabrahman or the Absolute. I think he says somewhere that his visitor should look at "that by which you know you are."

In Prior to Consciousness, one of Jean Dunn's books, he gives a definition of "consciousness" which he's using as a synonym for "I Am":

Nisargadatta wrote:Q. What is the definition of consciousness [i.e., the knowledge I Am] as used by Maharaj?

A. Consciousness, as it is used here, is the sense of being alive, of being present, the sense of existence. It is the love of being that is the source and cause of all desires.

The I Am is not only existence, and it's not only the sense of existence, but it's also the love of existence. It's the desire to continue living.

In Consciousness and the Absolute, another of Jean Dunn's books, Nisargadatta endorses a visitor's description of the I Am:

Nisargadatta wrote:Q. Sometimes I have a feeling of mindlessness[.] I feel that only I exist. There is only one thing in the world. I don't have to do anything. I simply exist.

A. That state of being is common to all, that is the message "I Am" without words.

The I Am is Maya. From Consciousness and the Absolute:

Nisargadatta wrote:In deep sleep, consciousness was in a dormant condition; there were no bodies, no concepts, no encumbrances. Upon the arrival of this apparently wakeful state, with the arrival of the concept "I Am", the love of "I Am" woke up. That itself is Maya, illusion.

He drops numerous tips or hints to help us recognize the knowledge I Am. For example he says in Nectar of Immortality, one of Robert Powell's books, and other places that the knowledge I Am is the first experience when we wake from sleep. What is the first experience?

Another quote from Prior to Consciousness:

Nisargadatta wrote:"That which you like most -- that itself is 'I Am,' the conscious presence."

What do you like most?

What's the most precious thing, the thing you take to be your life itself?

What thing would you sacrifice everything else to preserve?

You may find it interesting to read Anadi's comments on Nisargadatta's use of "I am". You can read the whole thing at this link:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160301183315/http://anaditeaching.com/maharshi-and-maharaj-acme-and-ending-of-advaita/

I'll quote some of it here:

anadi wrote:Maharaj was not only told by his guru to ‘keep’ I am, he was initiated into I am, meaning his master transmitted the awakened state to him. That which he called ‘I am’ was pure consciousness, realized on the level of presence. However, he was not awakened to pure me, nor did he consciously know that he had to surrender to universal consciousness. He was just ‘keeping’ the state of pure consciousness through a form of self-remembrance. The whole process was happening by itself, without its various intricacies being grasped by his inner intelligence. Eventually, he did realize his soul, but not in a conscious way. He was surrendering to the universal I am from his pure me, but due to the preconceptions he inherited from Advaita, he did not recognize who was surrendering and who he had become as a result of that surrender. His soul-awakening was not conscious, because he did not long to meet himself – all he wanted was to reach freedom.
www.freddieyam.com

emviem
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

Postby emviem » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:46 am

Thank you for the explanations and the quotes, Freddie. I'm relieved about the meaning of "I am".

What is your opinion about the concepts of reincarnation and afterlife realm?

Realization
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Re: What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

Postby Realization » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:23 am

Sorry that you have to wait for your posts to be approved. I just turned that feature off so other people won't have to wait for approvals, but because you registered while it was turned on, your first three posts will have to be approved. After that it won't happen to you anymore.

Freddie Yam
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Re: What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

Postby Freddie Yam » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:11 am

emviem wrote:What is your opinion about the concepts of reincarnation and afterlife realm?

Sorry, I don't have one.
www.freddieyam.com

emviem
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: What does "I am" or "I amness" precisely mean?

Postby emviem » Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:55 pm

Freddie Yam wrote:Sorry, I don't have one.
Ok, no problem :)


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