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Me and the Apparent Me
Helen: Dear James, I have been contemplating “who am I?” all the time.
James: That’s good. Keep it up.
Helen: Quite unexpectedly I knew without doubt the whole universe, spirit, consciousness, awareness was looking right out of “my own eyes” in a total and intimate way.
James: This is the truth. You are that awareness that is looking out from behind Helen’s eyes.
Helen: To express this in a maybe bit unspiritual way: every little thing or entity is “my child,” it comes from me, it needs my total attention and it is me, and I have “nothing better to do” than love.
James: Every object you experience – thoughts, feelings, situations, etc. – are manufactured out of you, awareness. Keep your attention on the awareness and let the “things” and “entities” come and go at will.
Helen: The absence of anything measurable beyond love is generating a lot of relief, bliss, and ease of movement, but also disorientation, without even the disorientation being a “problem”… and I had to push myself to write you this because I really don’t like to talk about it.
James: There is nothing to measure. The intellect does not need to compare one thing to another, as is its habit. Keep it busy contemplating on awareness, the real you. Thoughts and feelings come and go according to God’s program. They have nothing to do with you. Ignore them. “Helen” does not need to know anything more than the simple fact: “I am awareness. I am whole and complete. I am free of thoughts. Everything exists in me. I don’t exist in anything.”
Helen: It bothers me that I am not open and grateful and overflowing, but rather closed, absolute, without any feeling to “owe” somebody anything or to need any comment.
James: This “bother” is just an object in you, awareness. Don’t pay attention to it. You are the knower of the bother. It belongs to Helen, not to you. She will feel gratitude and lack of gratitude as her mind changes. She does not have to conform to a spiritual ideal. She should not feel anything special, good or bad. Leave her alone. She is okay as she is. Self-inquiry is not self-improvement. It is time to leave Helen behind.
Helen: It might be a necessary phase.
James: From her point of view, yes. From your point of view, there are no phases. You do not change. You are awareness.
Helen: But… when I took myself to be the little me, I could not communicate, because all the effort of trying to be understood was irrelevant… and now I am Myself, I don’t even want it anymore, because I am connected anyway on another level!
James: You are making good progress now, Helen, but your self-knowledge is still imperfect. You, awareness, are not connected to anything. Everything is connected to you. There are no levels in awareness, in you. There is only you.
Speaking from Helen’s level, which is where this statement comes from, she is developing dispassion insofar as she does not want to communicate anymore. This is a good development. Give her permission not to say or do one thing. She should relax totally and contemplate only on her nature as awareness.
Helen: The guiding force that kept me like a dog following a track fell away. Creation does not drag me around anymore but it is simply in me.
James: Yes. This statement is true. It is spoken from the “level” of awareness. See how the point of view in this email shifts back and forth from Helen to you, awareness. Freedom is knowing the way in which Helen and awareness are one and the way in which they are not. Your discrimination is not perfect. But you are getting very close to the end of your spiritual journey.
Helen: This seems powerful, but vulnerable as well.
James: Vulnerable for whom? For Helen, obviously. You, awareness, are neither powerful nor vulnerable. You are the knower of power and vulnerability.
Helen: I feel silence is very important as a “virtual cave” to protect this. Something has to grow, but it has to grow in the dark, subconsciously, since in conscious love there is no measurement, and there is nobody there to notice.
James: It is a cave to protect Helen. Let her be protected by silence. You do not need protection. You are what protects. You are the silence that is not opposed to sound. Your self-knowledge has to grow. It is just a tender sprout. Water it with the words of the guru and scripture. Forget protection. There is nothing to fear.
Helen: Vedanta to me is like a body I have always known. The Ten Commandments seem like an outcome, but Vedanta the structure behind it. I am still very ignorant in this, and I cannot absorb much, like I have to take just a very little bit at a time.
James: This is the right attitude. Vedanta will set you free. There is no doubt about it. But take your time. Throw away all of Helen’s notions and start afresh. Read my book again. Read the website, the satsang section particularly.
Helen: Maybe something comes into your mind about what I might need now…
James: Think deeply about what I have said. Try to separate Helen from you, the knower of Helen. There is still a confusion. The shift from Helen to you is taking place and you can help it along. This may be a difficult transition if you have an attachment to being Helen. You should be fed up with her, tired of her self-obsessed antics, all her beliefs and opinions. Let her die the good death. See yourself being born out of the ashes of her funeral pyre.
Helen: …because other than what I wrote, I have no idea.
James: That is good. Trust me. I will give you the idea you need.