The Elusive I Am

The being who says “I am”, implied in every sentence, the being that observes, that hears, that sees color and light, sits in the shadows between the worlds.

If I look within the source of attention, trying to find the I Am, the I Am retreats even further. When I think I’ve grappled it, when I think I have surrounded the I Am in a web craftily and carefully constructed with meaning and concerns, when I say “Ah! Here I Am!,” the I Am becomes smaller, more remote, more in shadow.

I look for the I Am, realizing that the one who searches is also the I Am, forever retreating yet always at the center of the experience.

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The Futures that Were.

The future used to be so much better before it got so mangled in recent pasts.

I’ve been shopping around for a better future. I might have to make one myself. I can probably put something together from a couple of futures I used to have that never got used.

Or perhaps I will just drop them all, stop looking in the past for all the futures I might one day want and the ones I might come to fear, leave the future in all its styles way behind and let it vanish into the distant past like my shadow with the coming of the night.

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You Are a Manifestation of the Egregore of Humanity

We are constantly negotiating with one another the limits of reality and you’re constantly negotiating who you are. But, that’s not the real you. That is only the avatar that you are picking up for interacting in this simulation, in this game.

You’re really not this particular instantiation of the self. The human mind exists way beyond the limit of your awareness, and even beyond the limits of your lifetime. It is shared with all humanity. You are truly the manifestation of human history.

Like every living creature, the egregore of humanity is growing, it is learning, it is adapting. It is making decisions at a collective level.

The human mind is a vast depository of knowledge, theories, strategies and historical data. Anything that any human being has done, experienced, thought and created is recorded in this mind. There is no action that you can ever take, no thought that you can have that is not part of the collective mind. We can keep secrets from one another because the knowledge of each person is limited to their personal history and their erroneous conceptions about reality, but the mind is aware of all this. It’s seen through each and every human being.

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The End of Thought

The endeavor of philosophy is to come to the end of thought, to be able to burst through the fogginess of mind into the silence–the nothingness. If you understand this, you would know that out of this silence no question comes. The question is the result of a confrontation with the silence, with death. The question can be the result of fear, the mind attempting to cover the silence with chatter, or it can be an attempt to become awake in the silence. And if one knows this difference, truly, one can perhaps come to a liberation from the trap of the mind.

The way most of us ask questions comes from the emptiness of not having an answer. The way the Philosophus asks questions comes from the answer. The way the uninitiated speaks comes from division. Yet, the question of the Philosophus comes from the unity of opposites. The answer is contained in the question as the speech in the silence.

It is there. At one point, if we manage to continue this Philosophical Inquiry, one will come to understand not only the end of thought and not only the use of language, one would also perhaps come to understand and know that the Philosophus is to utilize language as the mathematician utilizes numerical formulas–in that a mathematical problem contains its own solution. In that same manner a philosophical question contains its own answer.

To engage in a true philosophical question is to extract from it its own resolution, which means its own death. For in engaging with the question there is the death of the question. In that sense, philosophy becomes magick. Because inevitably we come to see ourselves as the most important question that this mind is posing. Out of this question, its solution emerges–solution in the mathematical sense and in the chemical sense.

This process puts false ego to the side and in the center something truer. It implies a more mature engagement of language. For the language of the Philosophus is not about validating oneself, about fears or identity. The game became wider. Now you’re dealing with the archetypal language of the human race.

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The Observer is the Observed

Is there something before this thought? The body and its evolutionary strategies exists before culture, but not before archetypal thought. Archetypes are the symbols the intelligence of the body uses to communicate with itself. Mind itself is built from these archetypes. Language is inherent to mind. There is no mind without a language. Philosophy is done with language. But Philosophy is not engaged to find a truth that can be defined with language. It is to pitch language against language. Yet inevitably we must ask, who is conducting this inquiry? Who is asking? Who is observing? You need to ask that question. Who is the observer? Can there be an observer that is detached from language? Or is the observer also thought? Is the observer the product of thought and therefore a function of language? But does it exist as an entity apart from thought? Does the speaker exist apart from speech? Does the thinker exist apart from thought? Does the observer exist apart from the observed? Or is the observer and the observed the same? Is the speaker and the spoken the same? Is the author and the story separate? Or is the voice in the story the author? It’s an important question. To understand this question is to understand the essence of magick.

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Philosophical Inquiry and the Aikido of Thought

Society, civilization, is the product of thought. All the forms we have created: government, money, religion, civility, fairness, etc., are the product of thought. Language is a product of civilization. Therefore the mind that we have, this mind that thinks in English, in Russian, in Spanish, is the product of that civilization. Civilization is nothing but the provider of form for egos and personalities.

We adopt those forms to be able to have a place in this society and to be recognized, to be named. What would we be without it? Not of this world, that’s for sure. Yet can we use this thought to break free from it? That’s the question of a philosopher. I use thought to break free from it. But if we’re seeking to form a theory, to prove an idea, to promote a religion we’re not doing this thing that I’m calling philosophy. On the other hand, if we are taking this thought, this mind that created the I and turn this thought to dissolve itself—can I pitch this thought against itself so that nothing remains? If so, can I step away from the fascination with the game of civilization? Which wouldn’t necessarily mean thought is not existent. We can still use thought as a tool; as a scientist, as an artist.

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Does I exist?

When we engage with a philosophical inquiry, What is that which wants to know? Is it not the mind? Who asks the question? Who is asking this question? Is there an expectation for an answer when this question is asked? What would satisfy this question?

The mind who is thinking creates the I who thinks. I think.

This I who says “I think” wants to be a real entity. A real thing. But the I who says “I think”, “I want to know”, “I wonder”, “I want”, is the result of thought. “I am Mexican”, “I am Peruvian”, “I am Argentinian”, “I am American”, “I am White”, “I am Black”, “I am male, female”. This I who speaks, this I who asks questions, the I who wants to know, is that I not the result of thought? Is that I not the one that keeps talking and asking?

The mind is aware of itself. And the mind continues to negotiate its existence. It wants validation from others. It wants confirmation of its own existence. It creates anything to feel that it exists. It creates depression. It creates confusion. It creates anger. Just to prove that it exists. But it is the product of thought. And this mind which creates thought, which creates ego, wants to argue. It wants to prove itself. It wants to be heard. It wants to be validated. It wants to ask questions. It wants to understand the answers. But is this ego, this I, not the result of thought? Does it exist beyond thought? Does it exist without thoughts?

Electrical Tolerance In the Art of Philosophical Inquiry

For a philosophical inquiry, we need intensification of tolerance. I am not referring to social tolerance, but of electrical tolerance. A lightning rod allows the passage of power without breaking because it has a high electrical tolerance. a material with high resistance will burn out and break. This tolerance is the movement of the attention necessary to develop for this inquiry. It is the same as putting a 9-volt battery on your tongue. The initial shock makes you want to pull away.

That is what the mind experiences when it meets silence. It wants to do something to stay away from that shock. That something can be boredom. It can be feeling insulted. It can be the thought that says: “let’s talk about something else”. But if one is able to hold it, the initial discomfort is going to go away and we are going to find this pulsing energy flowing through the tongue.

The intensification of magickal force necessary to make this crossing, and this is a crucial point, is not about us doing something stronger. It’s about us opening up more. The intensification is of our tolerance so that the flow of power can continue. The intensification of the mind in a philosophical inquiry is first and foremost about the ability to receive more, to tolerate more. Put that battery on your tongue. Let it flow. It takes practice though, because the ordinary mind has been trained wrongly—in our schools, in our entertainment and in our language.

I hear people speak for hours and for days without hearing one another: switching and changing, following any impulse and retreating from any topic without regard for the dance of the dialogue, without regard for timing. It takes a very disciplined mind to be able to hold something.

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How the Philosopher Overcomes the Resistance of the Mind

The language that you acquire when you train in an esoteric school is the magickal language, Qabalistic thought, logical thought, and archetypal thought. A Philosophus can approach language from a very different perspective. There is an exactitude necessary to language, but at the same time there is a letting go of stagnant and calcified meanings. One has to be able to be very precise and at the same time to not hang on to unconscious agreements about what words mean.

There are a couple of tendencies of the mind that keep us from engaging in Philosophical inquiry. One is the tendency to let go of the effort. When you concentrate on one thought or one term for too long, the mind wants to move on. It wants to say: “yeah, I already know that. Give me something else.”

Another barrier is when you hold on and can’t let go of a point for ego reasons. That usually happens when the ego is involved and you feel like your point has not been heard or you feel like you are being misunderstood and your ego is attached to the outcome of the conversation. You want to keep going back to one point. The difference between exploring an idea for a long time and holding on to one idea, the difference between those two things, is that when we are exploring an idea from a philosophical standpoint, we are moving with it. You are seeing it from this angle then this angle then this angle until something becomes universal. There is a silence that springs in you when you find yourself looking at an idea from multiple directions. However, if you are identified with the outcome and lust for results, then the ego gets involved in the discussion and we will get stuck.

The third impediment is when we listen and compare what is being said to what we think we already know. To try to compare what’s being said to your idea of reality, to judge what is being said as being true or being false, whether you like it or dislike it, to whether you’re being entertained or not, are all tricks of the mind to get you back to an ordinary state. When the intensive chamber of the Teaching becomes strong, the mind also tries to shut down by confusing you, by making you tired. You keep listening to the words, trying to find something of interest. However, even if every thing in every word is quite understood, the mind begins to give up the effort necessary to hold on to the idea. The body becomes tired. Therefore, you need the blood-flow to the head. The breathing must be open and natural, the spine erect and the blood must flow to the brain so that you don’t fall asleep. The ego has to be put out of the equation. So that nothing that is said is interpreted as insult, as personal.

These are some of the tendencies of the mind that take us away from the present. Somehow, the reader could be hearing what I’m saying just as prologue. As something that is not the topic yet. In other words the mind is already talking and the things I’m saying are not heard. They are being categorized and cataloged into interesting or uninteresting. I question that function of the mind which wants to talk about something else: something that was talked about last week, for example; or something that your mind was considering a few months ago or a year ago; or something you heard in the past. All of that is at the expense of the moment. For at this moment, the tactics of the mind to get away from the now are being approached.