|What Am I? Galen Sharp
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Who are you?
Who are you?
Who are you?
Who are you?
You stand on the same ground as any realizer, and it is not separate from reality, from being. It is the bottom line of who you are. Non-separateness is the hallmark of nonduality, and nonduality is the bottom line of everything.
Inquiry is powerful, is stimulated or encountered in different ways, and turns one around. In this issue of The Highlights are some examples of inquiry from different traditions: aboriginal, Ramana Maharshi, Zen-inspired anime, mystical Christianity; and from different sources: two movies, a dialogue, and a sci fi forum.
who are you?
Charlie, the aboriginal elder in Peter Weir's film, "The
Last Wave," chants to the
are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?" The lawyer
doesn't know what to say. The life he has lived as a lawyer
has left him with no answer, no language to give voice a
reply to the elder's chant. Charlie repeats this over and
over hypnotically and then chants so that the lawyer, played
by Richard Chamberlain, is in a trance state. Charlie, the
owl, asks Chamberlain if he is a fish, a snake, a man---and
he says no to these choices. He then is asked if he is
"mulcrew" and he nods yes. Charlie then shows him the axe
and warns him: "Don't speak in the court."
This lawyer's representation of the young aboriginal men
charged with ritual murder becomes a maddening search for
an answer and a voice. What he learns along the way about
aboriginal culture, and himself, will take him far beyond
the ready assumptions about his life as a lawyer and the
reality he has fashioned for himself.
Indian spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) taught folks a practice of "self-inquiry," or really investigating the nature of one's own experience.
"'I exist' is the only permanent self-evident experience of everyone. Nothing else is so self-evident as 'I am'. So to do self-enquiry and be that 'I am' is the only thing to do."
"From where does this 'I' arise? Seek for it within; it then vanishes. This is the pursuit of wisdom. When the mind unceasingly investigates its own nature, it transpires that there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all." (50)
Example: a dialogue with Ramana Maharshi:
Disciple: How is one to realize the Self?
Maharshi: Whose Self? Find out.
D. I don't know how.
M. Just think over the question. Who is it that says "I don't know?" Who is the 'I' in your statement? What is not known?
D: Somebody or something in me.
M: Who is that somebody? In whom?
D: Perhaps some power.
M: Find out.
D: Why was I born?
M: Who was born? The answer is the same to all your questions.
D: Who am I, then?
M: (smiling) You have come to examine me? You must say who you are.
D: However much I may try, I do not seem to catch the 'I'. It is not even clearly discernible.
M: Who is it that say that the 'I' is not discernible? Are there two 'I's in you that one is not discernible by the other?
D: Instead of enquiring 'Who am I?', can I put the question to myself 'Who are You?" . . .
M: Whatever form your enquiry may take, you must finally come to the one I, the Self.
NEON GENESIS EVANGELION
EAVING A STORY
Rei: Mountain. Heavy are the mountains,
Something that changes through ages.
Sky. Blue sky. Something visible, something invisible.
Sun. Something unique.
Water. Something agreeable. Commander Ikari.
Flowers. Many of them alike, many of them useless.
Sky. Red, red sky. Red colour. Red colour that I hate.
Water flow. Blood. The smell of blood. A woman that does not bleed.
Made from the red soil are humans.
Made by Man and Woman are humans.
Town. Something that humans made.
Eva. Something that humans made.
Humans are what? Something that God made.
Humans are things which humans made.
The things I possess are my life and mind.
The vessel of a mind. Entry plug, the throne of a soul.
Rei: Who is this? This is me.
Who am I? What am I? What am I? What am I? What am I?
Rei: I am myself. This object is me, the figure which forms me.
This is the me that is visible, though it feels as if this is not me.
A strange feeling.
My body seems as if it is melting.
I cannot see myself. My figure is fading away.
I am aware of someone else.
Who is there before me?
I know this person. Major Katsuragi.
People, my classmates.
The pilot of Unit Two.
Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?
WHO ARE YOU?
This event occurred half my lifetime ago when I was 17. To record the details of the experience in writing does not do it true justice. The closest thing that I can parallel it to would be what many may refer to as a near death experience, however I can not call it this as at no point did I even consider that I had died or was going to die.
This event took place in a remote central NSW town called Seals Rocks during a surfing safari with some friends. I had been surfing and had just hopped out of the water when I became violently ill, nausea, vomiting, dizzy, shaking and weak. After I had stopped being sick I managed to compose myself, change out of my wet suit into dry clothes and sit in the front seat of the van to try to get some rest.
The next thing I recall was that I found myself (and I mean myself in the real sense, as real as typing this record) in a tunnel experiencing the sensation of falling or sliding in a forward direction. The walls of this tunnel were rainbow coloured like oil on water and were moving past at high speed.
As this experience began a voice repeatedly echoed a question "WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU?" needless to say that I felt very anxious. All my senses were working in overdrive and the sensation of falling increased, it felt as though I was going faster and faster with the question "WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? pressing in on me as I answered "I'm Tony, I'm Tony, I'm Tony". While this was happening I was trying to reach out and slow myself down against the walls of the tunnel, this was futile for no matter how close the walls looked I could not reach them and the speed and the question kept on and on. I cant put a time span against these events everything seemed to be flashing past yet the tunnel went on and on. Time did not seem relevant in that place, I would measure it more in its intensity than anything else a relentless intensity which grew and grew and grew. Suddenly I found myself motionless in a large round room with an old wooden table and chair, oil coloured walls and the question "WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU?" echoing in my head. The intensity was relentless I had reached the end of my rope, fallen off and was screaming "I'M TONY, I'M TONY, I'M TONY, and sobbing, but who are you?
At this point the repeating question stopped.
I looked up from the table at which I was seated and there before me was an opening door, beyond the door there was brilliant white light. When the door was fully opened I could make out the form of a man wearing a long single piece garment. The light stopped at the doorway and did not enter the round room, neither did the figure. (The effect was similar to that created when you face towards the sun and hold your hand in front to shadow your eyes, the intensity of the light behind your hand causes it to appear as a shadow in front of you with a distinct outline).
The figure before me answered my question:
"I AM THE ONE WHO HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES"
I immediately found myself back in the front seat of the van.
I firmly believe that on that day I stood before Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The question that was asked of me "WHO ARE YOU?" was not the question of "What's your name?" Its a question that cuts through bone and flesh to the very heart of a man HIS SPIRIT, and asks the real question:
Who are you in the eyes of GOD? When asked that question what answer can you give?
At that point in my life I had no other answer but my name, a name that was foreign to God. I considered this and ask myself if I died today and the same question was asked what would my answer be?
From that point on I searched for and I believe found God. In the Gospels of the Bible I found recorded the history of a man and God, the words of Jesus became alive to me and are etched on my heart. I came from a back ground with minimal religious influence, my path of discovery occurred between God and me through the bible without a great deal of outside influence from a church or religion.
Did I get saved on that day? No (the light did not enter the room), but I got excited, scared, upset, happy and went through just about every other emotion possible. I had come into His presence, into an experience of something that I could not fully fathom or understand. I believe that my true point of conversion occurred as I was walking home from a party one night along the beach. I remember looking at the stars in the sky, the greatness of His creation and crying out to the heavens, GOD I DONT KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT I WANT TO KNOW YOU, I NEED YOU. It was a cry of a heart longing to repent, longing for forgiveness, a longing that I could not suppress and from that day on I have been following Him, not always feeling his presence even sometimes shying away and rebelling but when youve tasted of who he really is there is no hiding your heart from him.
I now attend church on a fairly regular basis with my family, however church or other people are not the cornerstone of my faith. Even today I would not label myself with a denominational tag I simply say that Im a disciple of Christ a Christian. Unfortunately even the true meaning of the name Christian has been lost due the fragmentation of the true Church and creation of denominations and titles, along with the many and varied arguments about doctrine.
When the Lord answered me on the day that I cried out But who are you I believe He was saying three things.
I AM He stated I AM . If asked who I truly believe in my simple reply is: I believe in "I AM" Jesus Christ the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the one who was and is and is to come, the holy lamb of God. His death and resurrection. His call for repentance and baptism. His sending of a comforter, the Holy Spirit to indwell us as temples of the LIVING GOD. His close and intimate friendship.
THE ONE Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even though there was one figure before me they were all present.
WHO HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES On the surface this may sound strange as the bible teaches selflessness, however in the context of salvation we need to help ourselves to His gift of grace. We have been given everything to lead us to a life of Godliness through Jesus Christ who loves us. If we really want to follow Him we have to help ourselves by taking up His cross daily. God Almighty has given us everything we need to discover who he really is through the Gospels, the Word and by the Holy Spirit of God. We need to take up the challenge and help ourselves by Repenting, Obeying Gods Word and Following Jesus, laying down our lives at the foot of the cross.
Since then I have discovered that the Bible is more than just a history book or a map to life, it is more than a book of theology and rules. It is Gods Living Water of Life and all who drink from it will never thirst again. In it we find examples of how men and women followed God, how they walked with him from day to day and KNEW HIM FACE to FACE. They knew Him first hand, not from any stories, not from any songs, not based on any other persons experience or instructions but from their own Love, Obedience and Yearning for Him and His Love for them.
My hearts cry is to know Him like this also. Not to have a relationship with Him based on vain imaginings or confining Him to my limited understanding, but to truly walk with Him and talk with Him the way that Adam, Mosses, Abraham all the prophets and patriarchs did. To see Him FACE to FACE.
It reminds me of the account in the Gospel of the Samaritan woman who was fetching water and met Jesus at the well. She went back to the town and told everyone about Him and many believed because of her testimony, however it didnt finish there. The towns people went out to Jesus and he stayed with them for a few days. At the end of his stay the towns folk said to the woman, We no longer believe because of what you told us, for we ourselves have heard from Him and know that He is the saviour of the world
So the moral to this story? Firstly, dont believe everything someone tells you without testing their character. Secondly, sadly there are not to many people left with solid character.
So what then? Who is telling the truth? Who has the truth? What is the truth?
Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. No man come to the Father but by me.
Jesus said The day is coming when those who worship the Father will worship Him in spirit and TRUTH.
If you want truth but dont trust what others say then go to the source of truth and ask for yourself. His name is Jesus. But be warned, if you really want the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God will turn your life, your way of thinking and approaching life completely upside down. Then you will be able to say like the towns folk did I dont believe because of what you told me, I believe because I have heard from Him myself. Its a funny situation really in that then you will know the reality of God and find yourself trying to convince others of it.
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