Edited by Jerry Katz
“I have now read Beyond the Separate Self and consider it to be significantly more important and useful than comparative books by Osho, Eckhart Tolle and other significant speakers and authors. Your book contains everything that one needs to know or not know as the case may be to enter pure awareness and enlightenment. I think that your books will save people many years of unnecessary seeking if only they read your books at the beginning.” -Chris Sullivan
Colin Drake’s books are available through http://nonduality.com/colindrake.htm
Self Identity – The Key to Spontaneous Living
by Colin Drake
Discovering one’s actual self-identity, who (or what) we are, is the key to living spontaneously unencumbered by spurious opinions, beliefs, superstitions, prejudices, misconceptions, dislikes, aversions, phobias, neuroses, fears etc… For, until we have investigated reality and discovered our true Self, our view of the world (and all it contains) will tend to be distorted by identifying with ego and self image, and then referring our experiences back to this erroneous identity. This also entails seeing the world through the filter of our likes, dislikes, beliefs, self-interest, self-concern, fears for the future, memories etc…
This means that we do not see the world as it actually is and are thus liable to blunder around in an illusionary mental framework determined by the fictitious story we have fashioned concerning who we are. Not only that but we will also relate to others, about whom we will each have concocted a story, from this mental creation of ourselves. Obviously this will lead to a great deal of misunderstanding and confusion. This also entails regarding oneself as a separate ‘object’, in a universe of such, and thus regarding others in the same way. Which leads to treating them as objects (for that is what we think we are), the outcome of which can be seen in the modern world.
The solution to this problem is to find out who (or what) we really ‘are’ and, once the discovery has taken place, to cultivate (and live from) this discovery. This is readily accomplished by directly investigating our moment-to-moment experience, which is all we have as each moment is an experience and there is only this moment, here and now. When this is undertaken, see the appendi>, it reveals that at the core of our being (and all being) is Pure Awareness, Consciousness at rest. Within This all manifestation (movements, vibrations … Cosmic Energy) arise, abide and subside; emanating from, and returning to, the infinite potential (dark) energy contained therein.
So at the deepest level we, and all ‘others’, are Pure Awareness, in which our unique body/minds, appear, exist and disappear. When we identify with, and as, This then all are seen to be of the same essence and not separate from the totality (Consciousness)… which leads to us regarding (and treating) them as such. It also leads us to seeing the world ‘as it is’ a wonderful variety of manifestations in (and of) Consciousness which come and go in, and are never separate from, That. When seen in this way creation is more vivid, alive, friendly, beautiful, endearing and non-threatening, than when seen through the narrow filter of the illusory small self.
There are many more results of this potent discovery which I have explored in my books on Awakening and many more still to be discovered. In fact the potential is unlimited for what is being investigated is limitless! I will outline just a few to whet the appetite, bearing in mind as you read on that these are to be considered from the ‘universal’ point of view … that is identified with (and as) Pure Awareness:
1: It is easy to see that our mind/bodies are instruments through which Consciousness can sense, contemplate, act in, engage with and enjoy its own manifestation (the universe). For everything that we sense, or think, immediately appears in Awareness (Consciousness at rest) as we are aware of it.
2: This, combined with investigating Awareness itself, can lead to seeing that the mind/body is a conduit through which Consciousness can ‘know’ and love Itself in both modes – when at rest as Pure Awareness and when in motion as Cosmic Energy. This can be experientially realised by a practice I call ‘Love Loving Itself’.
3: When identified with Pure Awareness there are many by-products which are considered to be aids to awakening, in many spiritual paths, but are actually outcomes of that. These include compassion, discrimination, love of The Absolute, contentment and detachment.
4: With this identification there is found to be nothing (in terms of spiritual advancement) to achieve, for Awareness is always here and you are That. There is also nothing to find for Awareness can never be lost, and nothing to get (or desire or long for) as you already are That. So you can give up all striving, searching, acquiring, or becoming and just be what you are!
5: This leads to being completely ‘At Home’ in the universe, free from existential anxiety and angst, utterly at peace, absolutely free to be what one is, feeling completely accepted and loved in ‘the place where you flourish and from which you originate (OED)’.
6: Which also leads one to being ‘Simply Free to Be’, free from (that is unconstrained by) beliefs, ambitions, desires, conditioning etc… with no shoulds and should nots, cans and cannots, past and future, totally here now in this moment.
7: When identified with (and as) Pure awareness you will discover that no thing ‘matters’ or has any existential meaning and that ‘nothing(ness)’ matters. From this it follows that no ‘thing’ can affect what you are and that all labels which have been assigned to you are essentially meaningless.
8: This identification also takes one beyond karma as Awareness is totally unaffected by anything that is occurring within it. That is to say that although old thought patterns continue to come up one will no longer be compelled, or constrained, by them. They will just appear as ‘clouds’ scudding across the ‘sky’ of Awareness leaving it totally untroubled, for in this case one does not identify with them or take them as indicators of who, or what, one is. In the same way experiences which could be attributed to one’s karma, good or bad, lose their power to affect one’s essential underlying equanimity.
9: One also discovers ‘The Fundamental Secret’ (as opposed to ‘The Secret’) which is that ‘each moment is enough’ as Awareness just witnesses ‘what is’ at any given moment without needing to change it or wishing for it to be different. This realization can be a ‘magic bullet’ which can be applied to overcome boredom, envy, greed, insomnia and many other mind created (non existent) problems. Then one can replace the (Secret’s) mantra of ‘ask, believe and receive’ with ‘investigate, realize and relax’!
10: Once one discovers one’s true identity, and lives as That, one can abandon all externally imposed ethical frameworks (although it’s probably more comfortable to abide by the local laws!) confident in the knowledge that Pure Awareness needs no guidelines to act for the best. Then one can, in the words of Khalil Gibran, let one’s ‘song-bird’ freely fly … That is acting spontaneously and responding to situations rather than reacting to them.
The above are just a sample of what can be discovered by investigating the nature of reality and living from what has been discovered. I urge you all to carry out your own investigations and record them for your own future reference and the good of all those with whom you come into contact.
Below follows a simple method to investigate the nature of reality starting with one’s day-to-day experience. Each step should be considered until one experiences, or ‘sees’, its validity before moving on to the following step. If you reach a step where you do not find this possible, continue on regardless in the same way, and hopefully the flow of the investigation will make this step clear. By all means examine each step critically but with an open mind, for if you only look for ‘holes’ that’s all you will find!
1. Consider the following statement: ‘Life, for each of us, is just a series of moment-to-moment experiences’. These experiences start when we are born and continue until we die, rushing headlong after each other, so that they seem to merge into a whole that we call ‘my life’. However, if we stop to look we can readily see that, for each of us, every moment is just an experience.
2. Any moment of experience has only three elements: thoughts (including all mental images), sensations (everything sensed by the body and its sense organs) and Awareness of these thoughts and sensations. Emotions and feelings are a combination of thought and sensation.
3. Thoughts and sensations are ephemeral, that is they come and go, and are objects, i.e. ‘things’ that are perceived.
4. Awareness is the constant subject, the ‘perceiver’ of thoughts and sensations and that which is always present. Even during sleep there is Awareness of dreams and of the quality of that sleep; and there is also Awareness of sensations; if a sensation becomes strong enough, such as a sound or uncomfortable sensation, one will wake up.
5. All thoughts and sensations appear in Awareness, exist in Awareness, and subside back into Awareness. Before any particular thought or sensation there is effortless Awareness of ‘what is’: the sum of all thoughts and sensations occurring at any given instant. During the thought or sensation in question there is effortless Awareness of it within ‘what is’. Then when it has gone there is still effortless Awareness of ‘what is’.
6. So the body/mind is experienced as a flow of ephemeral objects appearing in this Awareness, the ever present subject. For each of us any external object or thing is experienced as a combination of thought and sensation, i.e. you may see it, touch it, know what it is called, and so on. The point is that for us to be aware of anything, real or imaginary, requires thought about and/or sensation of that thing and it is Awareness of these thoughts and sensations that constitutes our experience.
7. Therefore this Awareness is the constant substratum in which all things appear to arise, exist and subside. In addition, all living things rely on Awareness of their environment to exist and their behaviour is directly affected by this. At the level of living cells and above this is self-evident, but it has been shown that even electrons change their behaviour when (aware of) being observed! Thus this Awareness exists at a deeper level than body/mind (and matter/energy) and we are this Awareness!
8. This does not mean that at a surface level we are not the mind and body, for they arise in, are perceived by and subside back into Awareness, which is the deepest and most fundamental level of our being. However, if we choose to identify with this deepest level – Awareness – (the perceiver) rather than the surface level, mind/body (the perceived), then thoughts and sensations are seen for what they truly are, just ephemeral objects which come and go, leaving Awareness itself totally unaffected.
One may then investigate this Awareness further to discover its wondrous properties, for more on this see any of my books on awakening.
C. Drake, Investigation of Experience, in Beyond The Separate Self, 2009 Tomewin p.17-26
C. Drake, The Universe and Consciousness, in Awakening and Beyond, 2012 Tomewin p.128-135
C. Drake, Instruments of The Absolute, in A Light Unto Your Self, 2011 Tomewin p.120-125
C. Drake, Love Loving Itself, in Awareness of Awareness, 2013 Tomewin p.190-201
C. Drake, So What … What Now?, in Beyond The Separate Self, 2009 Tomewin p.95-96
C. Drake, Nothing To Achieve, Find or Get, in Beyond The Separate Self, 2009 Tomewin p.46-51
C. Drake, Home is Where the Heart Is, in Beyond The Separate Self, 2009 Tomewin p.63-65
C. Drake, Simply Free to Be, in Beyond The Separate Self, 2009 Tomewin p.27-39
C. Drake, Nothing Matters, in Beyond The Separate Self, 2009 Tomewin p.66-70
C. Drake, Nothing has Essential Meaning, in A Light Unto Your Self, 2011 Tomewin p.150-158
C. Drake, Awakening, Karma and Renunciation, in Awakening and Beyond, 2012, Tomewin p.87-95
C. Drake, The Fundamental Secret, in A Light Unto Your Self, 2011 Tomewin p.89-95
C. Drake, Awakening and Ethics, in Awareness of Awareness, 2013 Tomewin p.116-120
The theory of relativity, and string theory, show that matter and energy are synonymous.