Before ‘I Am’
Excerpt from ‘Zelfherinnering’
Hans Laurentius: How were you before the ‘I Am’ appeared?
Q: No idea.
HL: That’s right, there was no idea at all. Before the ‘I Am’ appeared, you were okay. Then the ‘I Am’ stuck to the body-thinking-feeling and the trouble started. Return to your original state, by realizing that what you are was already there before the ‘I Am’ visited you. The ‘I Am’ belongs to the body; while there is a body, there will be consciousness. All temporary. You alone are timeless. All that can be known, is the product of the body and consciousness.
Q: Do you mean that consciousness is not the ultimate?
HL: It is not what I mean, it is so. This life happened to you. You didn’t do anything for that. It came unasked and it will disappear unasked. But you stay. That’s why Self-realization is also called dying. As long as you’re still interested in the temporary, in what appears and disappears, you’ll live in captivity.
You can’t separate consciousness from its contents. You say that you know emptiness. Emptiness is nothing other than consciousness plus the absence of movement. But what is conscious of consciousness? What knows the ‘I Am’?
Q: So that’s why I can meditate endlessly and it won’t get me anything. I can’t go beyond consciousness that way.
HL: Right. Every action belongs to the realm of consciousness. So no action can get you beyond consciousness. The highest attainment of your efforts is the realization of undifferentiated consciousness. But even consciousness is temporary. That way you remain fixated on consciousness and its contents. The only difference is that you used to keep busy with thinking and feeling, and now your interest has moved to emptiness, to silence, to bliss. But it is all temporary and everything exists by the grace of consciousness. What you are was there before consciousness appeared. That is true Knowledge.
Q: So the ‘I Am’ is interested in activities.
HL: The ‘I Am’ identifies with activity. That becomes the ‘I am this or that’. That’s why many can’t distinguish between ‘I Am’ in its pure form and the mind. That’s why we use this me-sense. You can’t deny that you exist. By abiding in the pure sense-of-being, you get freed from illusions, except from the illusion of being the ‘I Am’. But that illusion disappears by itself and if not, I hereby take it from you. That’s why I’d rather have it that you’re left with only one illusion. Once you’re stabilized in the realization of consciousness or ‘I Am’, you’re almost home.
Q: But the ‘I Am’ already feels so free; from your words it seems that that’s not enough.
HL: Investigate how you are doing. Isn’t it true that you’re quite attached to that felt freedom? Isn’t there constantly the subtle fear of losing it again?
Q: No… Yes, actually.
HL: So then you’re not free, however much has changed. You’re no longer worried all that much about the events. You are more joyful, spontaneous, resilient and so on. You have become a free man. But the last germs of the disease are still there. There is still a something enjoying the enlightenment that has been found. There is still a tension there.
There are many like that. Including among those who climb upon their stools and speak about realization. The ox has been tamed, but the true oneness isn’t there yet. And so these ‘wise ones’ remain prey to insecurity and other inconveniences and unsavoriness.
I say: Half of freedom is no freedom, almost true is still false. Go further. Leave the ‘I Am’ and the game of consciousness for what it is and realize your absolute nature. Only then, when it has been completely worked through, can there be mention of full realization. So don’t stop halfway. Remain available and see the attachment to Being, sothat you are released from it. It’s very close.
Excerpt form ‘Zelfherinnering’.Translation by Mark Meijer