Lesson 4 – Letting go of I-AM
Anything that poses a burden, anything that acts as an anchor, anything that ties you to something, is a form of bondage—a form of not being free.
It is a form of tying yourself to something that you absolutely are not—because you can’t ultimately tie yourself to what you are. You can only tie yourself, you can only keep yourself limited, to things that are not what you actually are.
So, let’s explore the sense of I-AM, to see if Presence-Energy is actually what we are. Or, whether we can let go of it. And if we can let go of it, then we’ve discovered an even greater freedom than to tie our sense of awareness, our sense of self, to the sense of I-AM Presence.
Presence-Energy Is an Object
Can you recognize that Presence-Energy is an object? Can you imagine Presence-Energy itself as an object appearing in front of, or inside of, the absolute, ultimate subject, which is Awareness itself, or You, the “I”—the absolute ultimate “I”?
That ultimate I-Awareness, that ultimate Free Agent is the ultimate subject. In fact, it is the only subject—because there’s nothing other than this awareness to be aware. It’s not that there is any second awareness. Yes, there is multiplication. Yes, there is individuation and, therefore, seeming separation between individuals, between individual expressions of this overall I-Awareness.
Nevertheless, all of these consciousnesses, all of these I-AMs, in that sense, derive their power from the most fundamental ultimate Free Agent itself, that ultimate subject itself, which is Awareness. So Awareness is the only subject.
Awareness Is the Only Subject
Every experience that has ever been experienced has been experienced by and through the power of pure Awareness only.
Now, it may have been in a distorted form: it may have been in the form of I-AM-Presence, it may have been in the form of I-AM-a-person-inside-of-a-world—those types of consciousness. However, that which was conscious of that experience—the quality of Consciousness itself—is derived from pure Awareness; it is the “I” that sees everything. (Ironically the “I” is also the “eye.”) So, we can view or understand Awareness to be the ultimate subject, the only subject. We can view it as the only witness and the only perceiver.
The only perceiving power in all of Existence is I-Awareness.
And, the only object in Existence is Presence-Energy. We have already discovered this in the previous course: that there is no other substance for any object to be created out of. Therefore, any object you perceive is perceived by the ultimate and only subject, Awareness, and created out of, or consisting of, nothing but the only and ultimate object of Creation itself, which is Creation itself, or Presence-Energy.
Can you become aware of Presence-Energy in a very broad and general—or universal—level? Imagine that all objects are actually derived from Presence-Energy. Recognize that this moment—all the objects, all the appearances, all the perceptions in this moment—consist only of Presence-Energy, of the sense of I-AM.
Now, jumble that all together, combine all these things—in your imagination. It doesn’t mean you actually have to—or even can—be aware of everything-that-is at the same time, but just imagine everything, All-That-Is, as the great, profound, essential Presence-Energy, the I-AM of the universe, of Creation itself—the substratum of All-That-Is.
And now, imagine that as the ultimate and only object in, of, and as Creation. Notice that you, as “I,” you as the ultimate Awareness, the ultimate subject, are actually a witness of this only and ultimate object: Presence. You are aware of Presence.
In order to discover more profoundly the sense I-I, the I-Existence, rather than the I-AM-Presence, it’s very helpful to notice that I-AM-Presence is actually an object, an appearance, appearing to, or inside of, pure Awareness.
So again, bring into focus the sense I-AM as the universal substance of Creation and notice that there is an awareness of that. That in fact you are the Awareness that is aware of the ultimate object that is Presence-Energy. Otherwise, you could not report on it; otherwise, you would not even know about Presence-Energy. You could not be aware of the sense I-Exist, or I-AM, or I-AM-Here.
Seeing Presence as an object will help you shift into the I-Awareness.
Now, once you’ve seen Presence-Energy to be this universal, singular object of Creation itself, the Presence-Energy substratum of All-That-Is, see if you can let go of it. This is where things get interesting! This is where we discover our freedom—where the sense of I-I, or Awareness being aware of Awareness, or Awareness being aware of being aware—becomes detached from its association with the I-AM Presence-Energy principle or concept. It becomes detached from the feeling or energy state of that.
Presence-Energy Is an Appearance in Awareness
Once you notice that Presence-Energy is an appearance appearing inside of, or in front of, your awareness, then let go of that sense. First feel it, feel the I-AM. If you can feel it, that means you can also not feel it. If you could not not feel it, then you could not also feel it. Bit of a tricky thought, but it’s another pointer, another entrance way into discovering a more expansive explosion into Awareness.
You see, I-AM-Presence is still a focused state of consciousness. It is still Consciousness; it is still Awareness in a subject-object type of relationship. However, Awareness by itself is pure subjectivity. It is simply self-experiencing, not “other”-experiencing, not even I-AM-experiencing, per se.
It can be allowed to be there; it can be allowed to be present. But it’s not ultimately required, which is very liberating—to know that you are not ultimately tied to even the I-AM that forms the substance of All-That-Is. It’s very liberating to know that even from that you can gain your freedom, you can realize that your Awareness—that which You are—is more timeless, more space-less, more energy-less than Presence-Energy, than the feeling of I-AM. You are not tied to the dense, substantial, foundational feeling of I-AM, of I-AM-Present.
Start to see Presence itself as an appearance; see it as an object and realize your freedom from that object. You are free because you notice you can also not focus on it. You can focus on I-AM, the feeling of I-AM, and then—without losing Consciousness, without going back into complete ignorance, without even identifying with I-AM-a-person-inside-of-a-world consciousness—notice that there is a third level of consciousness.
Now you’ve gone from “I-AM-this-person-inside-of-this-world” (person-world consciousness), to Presence-Consciousness or I-AM, and now from I-AM…even further. Note that even though you’re letting go of the I-AM, you’re not falling back into I-AM-This—you’re simply taking it one step further. You’re maintaining the Awareness that was present to the person, and present to Presence, aware of Presence. And now simply aware—of itself—as remaining aware. It softens the focus on Presence; it lets go of the necessity to focus on Presence.
You Can Ignore the Feeling of I-AM
Another way to explore your freedom from the I-AM is to intentionally ignore the feeling of I-AM; ignore the sense of Presence. You can notice it, but then ignore it. Just look the other way, turn the other cheek. Ignore the sense I-AM.
Practice this for a little bit, back and forth. For a few minutes notice Presence and then ignore that feeling without losing your sense of clarity and awareness—maintain the sense that you are aware. Use that awareness to ignore or move away from, to shift attention away from the idea or sense of Presence-Energy.
Once you’ve tried this a couple of times, you can also try the following related exercise.
Hold your hand in front of your face—not completely in front of your face, just halfway in front of it, so that you can also look past it. Now, focus on your hand, which represents Presence-Energy; which represents the feeling of I-AM. It’s very present, it’s dense, it’s an object, and it’s observable.
Awareness is not observable in quite the same way that Presence-Energy—as a sense, as a feeling—can be observable.
Awareness is what’s doing the observation; it’s what’s doing the seeing. Therefore, notice Presence-Energy, notice your hand, and then, even though your hand remains where it is (because it’s available, it has its utility, it has its usefulness), choose to ignore it and simply shift your attention into the space or the sky behind it. It might be ideal if you practice this outside or in front of a big window so you can see the sky, the skyline, or space (if you’re doing this at night).
Hold your hand close to your face and focus on the sense of the Presence of the hand. Then relax that focus and become absorbed in the sky, in sky-like Awareness. This is an analogy, but it produces almost the exact same feeling—that shift feels almost exactly like shifting from a dense object that is focused upon right here, to relaxing all focus and letting the vaster, more spacious, more sky-like, state of Existence capture your heart and attention.
Then go back to the hand. Oh, it’s very present, it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous, it’s energy, it’s potent, it’s powerful, it’s present. But, it requires some degree of focus, some degree of paying attention to an object, whereas what I truly am is completely relaxed Awareness. The hand is still within my field of vision—it’s still available if I choose to focus on it—but now I realize I don’t have to focus on it, if I don’t feel like focusing on it.
“I Exist as Awareness”
There are many mindfulness-type teachings, which many of you are familiar with, that would have us focus on the present moment—on Presence—all the time. But Presence or the present moment or Presence-Energy has the tendency to lock us into a very physical-based sense of here-and-now, where we still have a sense of space and location and time.
When you let go of that focus, when you snap out of that focused “I-AM Consciousness” mode, you notice the vastness of subjectivity itself, the vastness of Awareness itself. You suddenly notice—even if it’s only for 2 to 5 seconds when you break the spell of the focus on the I-AM—that in that sky-like spacious sense of existing, without the sense I-AM Present, that “I Exist as Awareness.” I as Awareness.
Notice how the sense of location, space, time, the world—and even the Presence that makes up the world and the space and the time and the location—are not capturing your consciousness, your attention, your awareness. Your awareness is not, in a sense, caught up or occupied with these items, with these objects, with Presence Energy in its different forms.
And therefore, it feels extremely free, spacious, timeless, beyond time, beyond space, beyond location, beyond the world. There’s no sense of a world in that moment. Just 2 to 5 seconds of absolute relaxation of all focus back into the natural state of effortless Awareness—resting as that, resting in that—this is enlightenment; this is Self-Realization of the un-manifest, pure subject, the ultimate Free Agent that is Awareness itself.
And when you notice this, notice how the world disappears.
The more often throughout everyday life you relax for 2 to 5 seconds—and now you truly know the meaning of the 2 to 5 second relaxation—the more often you relax into your truly effortless state of simply being self-aware, without the need to be focused on I-AM, or any feeling whatsoever, then the more easily you can give yourself permission to simply ease in and out of the focus of Presence and Awareness, Presence and Awareness, Presence and Awareness.
Sometimes you love to be completely present in your reality, and be vibrantly, alertly awake to what’s happening here and now—really present to the Presence-Energy that makes up all the forms of your reality in that moment. That’s perfect, gorgeous, beautiful, empowering, useable, enlightening, and helpful for others, too.
At the same time, you can give yourself permission to start to enjoy spacious, space-like, free, timeless Awareness even more. And so you stop beating yourself up about having to be present, having to be mindful, having to be here and now. And you can simply relax—without necessarily letting go of the sense of Existing or Awareness—but it’s no longer filtered through the sense of I-AM. When you give yourself this permission you will find you’re relaxed even more. Your body will start to relax, your mind will start to relax, and you will start to feel even freer than you did, having realized the pervasive sense of Presence-Energy.
- Read, listen and/or watch this lesson at least twice before your next lesson.
- Meditate on some of the ideas or sentences that stood out to you from this session. If there was any particular sentence that I spoke during this video—and you can note them down during your replay of them (at least two replays)—write down the sentences or the pointers that, in particular, had some kind of experiential glimpse, shift, or effect on you. And just sit with these for about 4 or 5 minutes; just see what happens when you sit in a meditative setting, contemplating or repeating that particular pointer or way of seeing life. And enjoy the effect of that.
- Write down a few paragraphs of the things you notice when you let go of the I-AM and rest in a more relaxed fashion into the I-I. What do you notice in that shifting moment? What do you notice about the differences between them? In a few paragraphs, write down your particular personal realizations and highlights. And very important: remember to actually give yourself permission to enjoy Awareness—because many people don’t give themselves permission to enjoy their realizations!
- This part of the homework is to remind yourself that when you’re relaxing out of the focus of I-AM into the pure subjectivity of I-I, or I-Awareness—when you’re resting as the pure, unconditional, capital “S” Self : unmanifest, unfindable, Awareness itself—notice how enjoyable it is. Notice how enjoyable it is that you can be effortlessly aware; in fact, that Awareness is already being effortlessly aware of every moment—and see that Awareness can also shift out of every moment and simply notice its own pristine, magical, free, spacious, expansive nature. Give yourself permission to relax into and enjoy what you truly are.
Welcome to Enlightenment—effortless, easeful, enjoyable.
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