Yet another set of quotes from the “I Am That” book by Nisargadatta Maharaj together with my commentary. Read part onetwothreefourfivesix, seven and eight.

[About child consciousness.] Take the case of a young child. The sense “I am” is not yet formed, the personality is rudimentary. The obstacles to self-knowledge are few, but the power and the clarity of awareness, its width and depth are lacking. In the course of years awareness will grow stronger, but also the latent personality will emerge and obscure and complicate. Just as the harder the wood, the hotter the flame, so the stronger the personality, the brighter the light generated from its destruction.

Some new-age parents think that children are enlightened already and don’t teach them anything but in fact try to learn from them. Here Maharaj says that children are not enlightened yet their personalities are latent so they are not in the grip of ego as much as grownups. But enlightenment they are unable to achieve as awareness is lacking.

He also implies here, I believe, that those with the strongest personalities can help the world the most once they achieve liberation.

Q: If there is no such thing as the knowledge of the real, then how do I reach it?

A: You need not reach out for what is already within you. Your very reaching out makes you miss it. Give up the idea that you have not found it and just let it come into the focus of direct perception, here and now, by removing all that is of the mind.

Those who search everywhere for enlightenment continue searching their entire lives. We are already enlightened, as Nisargadatta Maharaj mentions in this book here and there. All is required is the change of focus, which can be achieved by being disinterested in mental and world contents.

To know that you are a prisoner of your mind, that you live in an imaginary world of your own creation is the dawn of wisdom. To want nothing of it, to be ready to abandon it entirely, is earnestness. Only such earnestness, born of true despair, will make you trust me.

People who are happy with the world are not interested in enlightenment. Usually those who experience intense pain for one reason or another start searching for a way out.

Instead of struggling with the person to make it become what it is not, why not go beyond the waking state and leave the personal life altogether? It does not mean the extinction of person; it only means seeing it in the right perspective.

This is excellent news, as many people try to change their personalities in order to gain enlightenment. I think it’s wise to continue improving the personality but this is done for the sake of easier life rather than enlightenment. For enlightenment the personal has to be transcended. Like Maharaj says in another place in the book, after all liberation is not of the person but from the person.

You are bent on knowledge, I am not. I do not have that sense of insecurity that makes you crave to know. I am curious, like a child is curious. But there is no anxiety to make me seek refuge in knowledge. Therefore, I am not concerned whether I shall be re-born, or how long will the world last. These are questions born of fear.

The mind, seeking its continuance and definition, always wants to know the future and the causes of things. So the questions of the mind are never-ending, and they are indeed born of the mind’s need to survive, and are, therefore, fear-based.

(…) as long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk from the final leap into the unknown.

Even the slightest interest in the world will keep you in the illusion; the ultimate can only be gotten when everything is let go of.

If you diligently investigate the knowable, it dissolves and only the unknowable remains. But with the first flicker of imagination and interest, the unknowable is obscured and the known comes to the forefront. The known, the changing, is what you live with – the unchangeable is of no use to you. It is only when you are satiated with the changeable and long for the unchangeable, that you are ready for the turning round and stepping into what can be described, when seen from the level of the mind, contentless and invariable.

Sometimes when people are in too much pain they seek for liberation but then when the pain ceases, they are interested in the world again. But this prevents one from gaining liberation. When you lose your interest in the world permanently, you will gain the real. But Nisargadatta Maharaj tells not to worry about not being fully committed either; just keep living your life with awareness and eventually the time will come when you want nothing of this existence.

Watch yourself closely and you will see that whatever be the content of consciousness, the witnessing of it doesn’t depend on the content. Awareness doesn’t change with the event. (…) Take note of the peculiar nature of pure awareness, its natural self-identity, without the least trace of self-consciousness, and go to the root of it and you will soon realize that awareness is your true nature and nothing you may be aware of, you can call your own.

No matter whether you are a child or a grownup, the witness observing your life remains unchanged. Your personality is transformed, your environment changes, but the witness is exactly as it was. Maharaj says that dwelling on that witness can take you beyond the world and into your real nature.

Happiness is never your own, it is where the “I” is not.

Eckart Tolle mentioned the same thing. He said that the happiest moments in life happen when we are not aware of ourselves. For example, when we are in awe of a sunset, it’s only the sunset that we are aware of and not of the little me. This makes it a joyful experience.

The mind needs a centre to draw a circle. The circle may grow bigger and with every increase there will be a change in the sense of “I am”. A man who took himself in hand, a Yogi, will draw a spiral, yet the centre will remain, however vast the spiral. A day comes when the entire enterprise is seen as false and is given up. The central point is no more and the universe becomes the centre.

Even yogis consider themselves personalities, so though they may be exploring other worlds, still there is the “I am” centre. Yet those who are enlightened no longer have that centre. I experienced something similar during my yoga days, when I became, in meditation, the particle of the sound, and at another occasion – everything in the room. These experiences are very freeing and they encourage you to continue your spiritual practice.

At present you are moved by the pleasure-pain principle which is the ego. You are going along with the ego, you are not fighting it. You are not even aware how totally you are swayed by personal considerations. A man should always be in revolt against himself, for the ego, like a crooked mirror, narrows down and distorts. It is the worst of all the tyrants, it dominates you absolutely.

Some people may completely live in fantasy worlds and in the natal chart it is often shown by an afflicted Neptune. But as long as one is not fully free, the ego will always distort reality in some way.

For example, some people believe themselves better or worse-looking than they really are. Therefore their actions, such as about the attraction of a particular partner, are based on illusion and end up failing.

Words and questions come from the mind and hold you there. To go beyond the mind, you must be silent and quiet. Peace and silence, silence and peace – this is the way beyond. Stop asking questions.

The mind cannot lead one beyond the mind. So it should be not paid attention to. It’s very smart, and it fools many spiritual aspirants with spiritual questions and philosophies. It fights for its existence very hard and uses many tricks; total awareness, dwelling in the gaps of thoughts, seems like death to it so it will do anything to keep one engaged with it.

Q: The world disturbs me greatly.

A: It is because you think yourself big enough to be affected by the world. It is not so. You are so small that nothing can pin you down. It is your mind that gets caught, not you. Know yourself as you are – a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless. You are alike the point of the pencil – by mere contact with you the mind draws its picture of the world. You are single and simple – the picture is complex and extensive. Don’t be misled by the picture – remain aware of the tiny point – which is everywhere in the picture.

Very profound words, and great help in the moments of unhappiness. It’s our mind that’s disturbed, not us. My mind is very sensitive to disharmonious sounds, so when I hear something disturbing, I have to resort to telling to myself that it’s the mind and the personality of Simona that’s disturbed and not myself. This provides some relief.

You create the world in your imagination like a dream. As you cannot separate the dream from yourself so you cannot have an outer world independent of yourself. You are independent, not the world. Don’t be afraid of a world you yourself have created. Cease looking for happiness and reality in a dream and you will wake up. You need not know all the “why” and “how”, there is no end to questions. Abandon all desires, keep your mind silent and you shall discover.

Yet another profound quote, as here we find out that even when you are liberated, the world is there. It’s our own creation, yet before liberation we think it to be separate from us. After liberation it remains, but its true identity, as dependent on us and not the other way round, is discovered.

Q: Do you experience the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping just as we do, or otherwise?

A: All the three states are sleep to me. My waking state is beyond them. As I look at you, you all seem asleep, dreaming up worlds of your own. I am aware, for I imagine nothing. It is not samadhi, which is but a kind of sleep. It is just a state unaffected by the mind, free from past and future. In your case it is distorted by desires an fears, by memories and hopes; in mine it is as it is – normal. To be a person is to be asleep.

Indeed people are lost in their own private worlds. It’s so easy to get lost in illusion; all it takes is to believe in the tales of the mind. Daily mindfulness dispels many of the minds’ untruths.

Here also he implies that samadhi is overrated; because even if you are unconscious in meditation for days, what difference does it make?

Until you can look at fear and accept it as the shadow of personal existence, as persons we are bound to be afraid. Abandon all personal equations and you shall be free from fear. It is not difficult. Desirelessness comes on its own when desire is recognized as false. You need not struggle with desire. Ultimately, it is an urge to happiness, which is natural as long as there is sorrow. Only see that there is no happiness in what you desire.

Desires engender fear. When we want nothing of this world and we don’t consider anything our own, fears are gone. Desires cannot satisfy us as they only give illusions. For example, as a long-term traveler I know that no matter where I would want to go, once I get there, the magic is gone, and another place is thought of. Achieving dreams can make one realize that all experiences are insubstantial, because ultimately they are not real.

What you see as false, dissolves. It is the very nature of illusion to dissolve on investigation. Investigate – that is all. You cannot destroy the false, for you are creating it all the time. Withdraw from it, ignore it, go beyond, and it will cease to be.

The more you investigate, the more there is to investigate. This world has never-ending illusions and we are unable to put an end to them. Some people get tired of seeking for truth in this world and lose interest in it. Then they have the chance of knowing the real.