THE INNER "I"
What is consciousness and where does it come from?
Everything in our lives, at some point, will come to an end. From our jobs to relationships to the phases of our lives, nothing is permanent. The only thing that lasts throughout it all is ourselves. But not in the way we might think. Even our bodies and minds reach certain “end points” along our journey that affect who we are. Whether it’s natural or from disease, we slowly lose pieces of ourselves throughout our lifetime. Yet when we reach the ultimate end, there’s still something inside of us that keeps us going -if only for a moment longer.
This consciousness or sense of awareness is actually who we all are -our inner “I”- and it doesn’t rely on anything in the physical or mental world to validate it. So how can we connect with or understand this critical piece of ourselves if it’s hiding beneath the surface?
When we look inside of ourselves, we’re generally looking inside of our mind. We become aware of our thoughts and feelings which can explain our preferences or why we react in certain ways. This then gives us clues as to who we are because we can find and define aspects of our personality. Although this process is an essential part of discovering ourselves, who we really are goes deeper than our personality.
Our consciousness is the deepest part of ourselves, which is why it can be so hard to find when we’re constantly defining our mind as the “I”. We tend to see the effects of the mind -our identity and instincts- as the cause of who we are. While the mind does give the inner “I” a place to live, our mind is a product of the “I”’s existence, not the source.
Our inner “I” goes beyond the mind because it’s prior to the mind, thus the functions and reactions of our bodies. The reason? It’s because the “I” is the essence of life. Without it we wouldn’t -couldn’t- exist. We would be completely unaware that we were alive at all. Ignoring the “I”’s reality doesn’t decrease its validity, it just keeps us from utilizing its potential to the fullest.
Many cultures and religions have been aware of this inner “I” that exists beyond and separate to the human mind and body, which is why there’s a long history of spiritual practices meant to quiet the mind. When we learn to quiet our minds, we can hear the stillness that exists in the space where our thoughts and emotions usually dominate. This space of stillness is what allows us to experience life. To be aware and conscious of the world around -and within- us.
We cannot be what we experience, so we must have some quality within ourselves that observes it all. Then it’s up to our mind and body to assess the information that comes through our space of awareness. Therefore it’s the role of the inner “I” to be the stage where the play of our life takes place. If we want to take control of our lives in any sense, we must become aware of the space where our life is played out. While it’s technically in the background, it’s what allows everything in the foreground to exist. Without it we’d be mindless, aimless, soulless.
In order to fully experience and interact with life without the limitations of our minds, we must go back to where it all started. Return to the inner “I” who’s purpose is to allow us to simply be -to exist- with no rules or labels. To experience the totality of life with a depth of awareness that makes us conscious of our vitality.
Practices & Motivations