"Trying to change this ‘I thought' requires trying to change something very ingrained," cautioned Weepasa. "It involves the destruction of ‘ourselves' because this ‘I', this ‘Me' is mixed up with our every thought and emotion. We can never put aside this ‘I' thought by trying to abolish it directly, because the ‘I' or ‘ME' would be the very one making the attempt, and would therefore strengthen itself by the effort. Your difficulty in finding the key lies in the fact that the one looking for the key is the one that must disappear. Do you see your predicament?"

I nodded in agreement, recalling the analogy of the fox in the hen house.

"The most effective thing we can do," the holy man continued, "is notice the ‘I' thoughts carefully during the inner work. Do you see? Do you know what the ‘I' thoughts are? They are the pictures of yourself that incessantly flood your mind, the never-ending internal chattering that goes on in the form of conversations with yourself - all of these are ‘I' thoughts. If you practice insight correctly, you will sooner or later see that these ‘I' thoughts take up almost every moment of your consciousness.

"Remember, there are three things to be constantly aware of and the fastest way to your key. They are the ‘I thought', emptiness and the moment. These are the critical things of insight. When we notice and allow our thoughts to dissolve on their own rather than follow them, then we know our mind. The difference between the inner work and regular mental activity is knowing and being aware that we are in the process of thinking, rather than allowing thoughts to run wild. Then as we go deeper, we will know the one who is aware that we are thinking.

"Finally we develop a detached overview, one we have never had before, where nobody is present, and this finally instills wisdom. This wisdom then alters our thought patterns and the altered thought patterns, in turn, bring up more wisdom - as everything cycles toward the Source. In time, this ‘I thought' dissolves completely, causing us to feel fear for one, brief moment before a vacuum forms and the "I" thought is replaced by Reality. Reality has always been there, but has been hidden from our awareness, covered up for many thousands of lifetimes by this root of desire and attachment; this ‘ME.'

"Now. . . is everything that I have just said clear in your mind?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Good, this is enough for now."

I bowed to the master and left his room. There were more questions, but I was embarrassed to bring them up. I wondered if the strong affection I had for Conqueror and a John would be detrimental to my insight practice. I knew that the people and things I loved were tethers, allowing me to go only so far before I was yanked back into my imaginary ‘secure' world. I also knew that I still attached to things that I loved, clung to them, and when I was not near them, I become agitated, worrying that I might lose contact with them permanently.

Why did I do this? Probably because they made me feel good; they made me secure, and what was this ‘feeling good;' this security? It surely could only be a pleasant stimulation of my various senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting and thinking; the senses I strive to stimulate constantly, because when the senses are not being stimulated, I feel boredom and emptiness. I feel fear then as my mortality becomes evident. I must therefore keep the action going to avoid these feelings, keep things moving, engaging in constant accomplishments which stimulate my senses, because this diversion away from the truth of my situation is more important than anything else. Without it, I would be faced with Reality, and what could be more frightening than Reality to a deluded mind?

I could see how my senses were double-edged swords once I was born into them. The things that make me happy, which are pleasurable stimulations, become my nemeses because when they disappear, I want them back. I could clearly see that this was why the seeds of discontent are always buried in every pleasure. I must be cautious of being reborn into human form, because rebirth involves this wanting and craving, and wanting and craving, which is born of the senses, must be the root problem and that which I mistake for a self! This self; this craving, of course, then requires a rebirth to further the illusion.

How simple! When I believe in a self, that belief is the seed that develops consciousness. Then this consciousness is reborn continually into various forms with mental and physical properties. The forms, in turn, experience contact through these mental and physical properties; the senses, and these contacts then result in feelings. The feelings resulting from these contacts can do nothing but crave more contact, which becomes a clinging attachment to whatever it is that makes me feel good, especially the idea of a self-"myself."

This is a vicious circle where I continually ‘become' - reinforcing this ‘self' idea so it is reborn time and again - so many times in fact that they are uncountable. Birth, aging, disease, and death - round and round they go, like spokes of a wheel. This is the root of my whole existence in the physical realm, with associations with people becoming the main contact or stimulus, regardless of whether it is pleasurable or unpleasurable. Either way, they are stimulations and create in my mind an illusory ‘self', or ‘somebody', where I even go as far as taking on a name and personality to further the illusion.

One would think that when this false concept of ‘people' is recognized for what it is; mere mutual stimulations, a callous feeling would result. But this is not the case at all. Conversely, there is an unburdening feeling of liberation and authentic, undirected love that replaces the previously felt unhealthy clinging to our own body and mind or other bodies and minds. There is still delight, but no longer attachment to that delight. It s a free delight - an all-encompassing love and not a clinging delight that merely changed into pleasure. Everything and everybody are delightful arising and passing phenomenon, emanations of the Source's love without my having to claim ownership.

I couldn't believe how my understanding was deepening already! Where was this wisdom coming from? It was certainly not from memory - that tomb of dead thoughts and imitation wisdom. This understanding could never come from "me" either. It was too creative, and just appeared as if I had known it for eternity. Perhaps I had.

As a result of my experiencing these new insights, I had to make one final trip to Weepasa's room. (To be continued)

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com His twenty-nine years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com