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Who is 'me'?

--by Toni Packer (Dec 05, 2004)


A somber day, isn't it? Dark, cloudy, cool, moist and windy. Amazing, this whole affair of "the weather!" We call it "weather," but what is it really? Wind. Rain. Clouds slowly parting. Not the words spoken about it, but just this darkening, blowing, pounding, wetting, and then lightening up, blue sky appearing amidst darkness, and sunshine sparkling on wet grasses and leaves. In a little while there'll be frost, snow and ice-covers. And then warming again, melting, oozing water everywhere. On an early spring day the dirt road sparkles with streams of wet silver. So - what is "weather" other than this incessant change of earthly conditions and all the human thoughts, feelings, and undertakings influenced by it? Like and dislike. Depression and elation. Creation and destruction. An ongoing, ever changing stream of happenings abiding nowhere. No entity "weather" to be found except in thinking and talking about it.

Now - is there such an entity as "me," "I," "myself?" Or is it just like the "weather" - an ongoing, ever changing stream of ideas, images, memories, projections, likes and dislikes, creations and destructions, which thought keeps calling "I," "me," "Toni," and thereby solidifying what is evanescent? What am I really, truly, and what do I think and believe I am? Are we interested in exploring this amazing affair of "myself" from moment to moment? [...]

Most human beings take it totally for granted that I am "me," and that "me" is this body, this mind, this knowledge and sense about myself which so obviously feels separate from other people. The language in which we talk to ourselves and to each other inevitably implies separate "me's," and "you's" all the time. All of us talk "I" and "you" talk, we think it, write it, read it, and dream it with rarely any pause. There is incessant reinforcement of the sense of "I," "me," separate from others. Isolated. Insulated. Not understood. How is one to come upon the truth if separation is taken so much for granted, feels so common sense?

The difficulty is not insurmountable. Wholeness, true being, is here all the time, like the sun behind the clouds. Daylight is here in spite of cloud cover.

--Toni Packer

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On Jun 12, 2006 Nipun wrote:

At work, many people kept e-mailing back & forth while sitting three seats away from each other. When stuck in your habits, you do not realize how seperate you feel. Sign on a liqour store billboard "The weather changes, so will your mind". Underlying all thoughts lie a thought seed which when given attention starts to whirl awareness like stars around a galaxy - this is fantasy. We are drawn to different thought-seeds by our likes and dislikes. What we mainly consider our identity is just our awareness being pulled in many directions by all these thought vortices. By recognizing that attention is caught up in these vortices based on seed thoughts, you can free awareness from fantasy and from getting stuck in polarity. Meditation brings us to the state where we are a complete clean slate, without prejudgements. A relative passing causes sorrow, feeling many unsaid things left, sorrow related to feeling of "Why did I not behave like the right me around that person? Why  See full.

  • At work, many people kept e-mailing back & forth while sitting three seats away from each other. When stuck in your habits, you do not realize how seperate you feel.
  • Sign on a liqour store billboard "The weather changes, so will your mind".
  • Underlying all thoughts lie a thought seed which when given attention starts to whirl awareness like stars around a galaxy - this is fantasy. We are drawn to different thought-seeds by our likes and dislikes. What we mainly consider our identity is just our awareness being pulled in many directions by all these thought vortices. By recognizing that attention is caught up in these vortices based on seed thoughts, you can free awareness from fantasy and from getting stuck in polarity.
  • Meditation brings us to the state where we are a complete clean slate, without prejudgements.
  • A relative passing causes sorrow, feeling many unsaid things left, sorrow related to feeling of "Why did I not behave like the right me around that person? Why did I wait to say things?"
  • You can be distinct while still feeling interconnected - like hands on a finger or waves on an ocean.
  • Grew up in cold weather and hated it, but realizing it was due to prejudgements about how weather was bad. Now in-the-moment, just appreciating the value that the snowstorm brings.
  • Story of Black Elk chanting on a blue sky day, clouds appeared and rain poured just on him and the observers.
  • When flying in a jet, whilest in the clouds the plane shakes and vibrates, but above them everything is clear and sunny.
  • At school discussing ethnicity & race in the United States, every week featuring a seperate ethnicity. Each different background would remind of own personal history, though seemingly seperate, we have much in common.
  • Life is just a collection of thoughts. Maybe thoughts & dreams change so that life doesn't get boring.
  • Really liked relating weather to change. Just observing change in life as natural as the weather changing is very relieving.
  • Recently took a Kayaking trip in Hawaii, had to walk through mud and rain - there was not much else to think about, time flew by.
  • Malu is expecting a baby!!
  • Osho used to jump in whirlpools and see himself caught up in them. He would swirl until he reached the center and then he would be pulled out of the whirlpool completely.
  • The more aware we are of this reality that everything changes, the better prepared we are. Question to the group - How prepared are we for the inevitable changes in life?
  • There are a number of interesting techniques in loosening the bond that language holds over "I", "Me" .. one of them is to stop using the words all-together. For example, instead of "I think" use "There is a thought" - very freeing because not owned by thoughts.
  • If you give up all labels, you will also have to give up thinking itself.
  • Response to how to prepare to change: Looking at a photo album of 10 years back, experiencing sadness, lost sense of youth, sense of innocence, sense of openness.
  • Three Zen students were sitting with their Master. Two of them had been arguing all day. The first one laid down his case and after listening closely the Master said "Yes, you are right." Then the second one took offense and explained his point of view, "Yes, you are right" said the Master. The third one then spoke out and said "Master, I'm confused, first you tell him he is right, then you tell the other he is right, this does not make sense" .. "Yes," The Master replied, "You are right too!"
  • What will you do if you win the lottery? I will retire. What will you do when you retire?
  • Question posed to a Zen Monk, what would you do if you had 15 minutes left to live? Reply: What's wrong with this?

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