The seeker is he who is in search of himself.
Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’
After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are.
The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not.
Struggle to find out what you are in reality.
To know what you are, you must first investigate
and know what you are not.
Discover all that you are not
— body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that —
nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you.
The very act of perceiving shows you
that you are not what you perceive.
The clearer you understand that on the level of mind
you can be described in negative terms only,
the quicker will you come to the end of your search
and realize that you are the limitless being.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That – Introduction (VI)
Before the end of my journey
may I reach within myself
the one which is the all,
leaving the outer shell
to float away with the drifting multitude
upon the current of chance and change.
— Rabindranath Tagore – Fireflies
Selfishness is not living as one wishes:
it is asking others to live
as one wishes to live.
— Oscar Wilde
What determines the true worth of a man
in the first place, is to what degree
and in what sense
he has attained liberation from “I”
— Albert Einstein
Your direct insight tells you that yourself you know first, for nothing exists without your being there to experience its existence. You imagine you do not know your self, because you cannot describe your self. You can only say: “I know that I am” and you will refuse as untrue the statement “I am not”. But whatever can be described cannot be your self, and what you are cannot be described. You can only know your being by being yourself without any attempt at self-definition and self-description. Once you have understood that you are nothing perceivable or conceivable, that whatever appears in the field of consciousness cannot be your self, you will apply yourself to the eradication of all self-identification, as the only way that can take you to a deeper realization of your self.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That – p. 517-8
The human spirit has always been in search of the infinite, to see and hear and know what is unseen, unheard and unknown. But, all along man’s search has remained directed to the exterior regions only – the vast expanses of land, oceans and the sky. Few have cared to peep into their own internal regions, their heart and mind and soul. Fewer still have realized that it is only through our inner consciousness that we experience what is outside. For a pilgrimage into one’s interior, into one’s own self, it is not necessary for one to be a learned man or a religious man, nor is it necessary to seek the help of a spiritual guide or guru. What is needed is a radical change in one’s attitude towards life, beginning with the dispersal of ego. And no bookish knowledge, no spiritual guide can be a substitute for such a deliberate inward orientation. With the dispersal of ego the basic duality between the self and not-self, abam and idam, progressively disappears and a new realization of I am that dawns – I am that. I am the cosmos. I am Brahman. My body is a micro-cosmos in constant change, yet maintaining a changeless design-pattern, as in the case of the cosmos, which is both a living unity and a bewildering diversity, like myself.
— Sudhakar S. Dikshit – I am All (p. 17-18)
Because in me you all exist, for me there is no separation:
but because you do not possess me,
for you there is separation and sorrow.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti – By What Authority!
There is nothing in the world that you cannot know,
when you know yourself.
Thinking yourself to be the body,
you know the world as a collection of material things.
When you know yourself as a centre of consciousness,
the world appears as the ocean of mind.
When you know yourself as you are in reality,
you know the world as yourself.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj: I Am That
Out of my deeper heart a bird rose and flew skywards.
Higher and higher did it rise, yet larger and larger did it grow.
At first it was but like a swallow, then a lark, then an eagle, then as a vast spring cloud, and then it filled the starry heavens.
Out of my heart a bird flew skywards. And it waxed larger as it grew. Yet it left not my heart.
O my faith, my untamed knowledge, how shall I fly to your height and see with you man’s larger self pencilled upon the sky?
How shall I turn this sea within me into mist, and move with you in space immeasurable?
How can a prisoner within the temple behold its golden domes?
How shall the heart of a fruit be stretched to envelop the fruit also?
O my faith, I am in chains behind these bars of silver and ebony, and I cannot fly with you.
Yet out of my heart you rise skyward, and it is my heart that holds you, and I shall be content.
— Khalil Gibran – Out of my deeper Heart – The Forerunner