The Most Important Question
The Union Path Podcast
"The Most Important Question"
In life, we can be beset and confronted by so many questions. It can seem that the experience of life is the experience of never ending questions. Constant new things to think about. Constant new things to ponder. Constant decisions to make. Constant ideas to form. Constant ideas to question or reevaluate.
But in my opinion anyway, there's one question that is more important, that is more vital, that is more critical than all the other questions. Underneath questions like, what do I want, where am I going? What should I do next? Am I on the right path? Am I doing the right thing? Underneath all of these questions that we can endlessly ponder, the most important question is, who am I?
In my opinion, anyway, the most important thing to ponder, the important thing to endeavor and attempt to know, is who we really are. What we really are. Really get down in this idea of consciousness, in this idea of a sense of knowing who and what we really are. Because I think if we break down our lives, if we really look at the mechanics of our lives, we really look at the course of our lives and look at what happens to us.
There's one thread, there's one commonality, there's one thing that runs through everything, and that's consciousness. That's the idea of who and what we really are. That's the belief of who and what we really are. That sits at the headwaters of all of our behavior, of all of our thinking, of all of our perspectives and attitudes, of everything that guides.
What we do on a daily basis, on a moment by moment basis, this is all fed out of consciousness. This is all fed out. of our own conception of who and what we really are. And we can not only see this in ourselves, we can see it in others. We can look at what people pursue. We can look at what people value.
We can look at what we pursue. We can look at what we value. And we can learn a lot about how those decisions are reflections of consciousness, of beliefs. Because if we really want to create any sort of change in our life, if we really want to get underneath our life and really understand it, this understanding begins and ends in consciousness.
This understanding begins and ends in really getting down to who and what we really are. Really getting down to what we really believe. And as the human animal, we have this amazing gift. We have this amazing opportunity. In that we're not only conscious, but we can think about consciousness. We can ponder consciousness.
We can both be conscious, but then also hold and examine our consciousness from the side. This truly is incredible. This truly is unique among all living creatures. If we want to make the argument that consciousness, or life, or creation, or energy flows through everything, that we have this really fascinating...
Extra piece, this really fascinating extra gift of awareness, and not only awareness in the present moment, but a broader awareness, an awareness of ourselves, an awareness of our life, our awareness of past, an awareness of desire for the future. This really is a remarkable gift, a remarkable doorway into creation, that we can really peer into the creation factory of life.
Where everything comes from and see the source, see the source as consciousness, or maybe in not quite so grandiose or hyperbolic terms, we can see the creative force, the creative river, the creative flow that runs through our life is flowing out of our own consciousness. We can look at not only what we do, but what happens to us through the lens of consciousness, through the lens of how we define ourselves, what we believe about ourselves, what we know ourselves to truly be.
And consciousness is not only the cause, not only the genesis, not only the Headwaters of so much opportunity in our life. It can also be the main cause, the main generator of conflict in our life. That I would make the argument that a good portion of the conflict, if not the majority of conflict that we experience on an internal basis, that we experience over long periods of time, that really grinds against us, that is really Lives with and felt not only deeply, but for long periods of time, is a conflict rooted in consciousness.
Is in us doing things different than what we know ourselves to be? Engaging in behavior, in thought. Inaction that differs from what we know ourselves to actually be. That we ourselves are violating our own self knowing. That we ourselves are acting against and undermining what we actually know ourselves to be.
And so we ponder this question. We really start to look at who are we really? What are we really? We find ourselves embarking on an endless path because there truly is no end, there is no final destination. And we really engage in consciousness and really engage with it from the point of easiest and most full access, which is the point of self awareness, really getting to know ourselves.
Really diving deep, really going interior, really exploring who and what we really are. We find ourselves treading down an infinite path. The path is infinite because there's always more to know. It never ends. Awareness itself is infinite. It's impossible to ever gain full awareness. from the sense of being aware of everything.
All we can ever be aware of is whatever we're aware of, but we can work to expand our own awareness. We can work to follow our own awareness because one of the things we find when we really get down into our own self awareness, when we really get down into ourselves and to trying to understand Who and what we really are, and we travel through various layers, we travel through the superficial layers of things like our exterior, our aesthetic, how tall are we, what do we look like, what do we see when we look in the mirror, how much do we weigh, what color is our hair, and we travel down through layers.
That get less and less superficial, that are less and less external, and we really start to get a sense that we're getting somewhere. We're really starting to get a sense that we're identifying something more real than simply our external. And through our expanding self awareness. We naturally become more aware of the world we inhabit.
We naturally start to pull our focus away from constantly thinking about the past or the future, and bring our focus more into the now, that we realize that the now is all there ever is, all that ever really exists, that the past is just a memory, and the future is just a fantasy. All that really exists, all that's really real, is now, and we descend even deeper.
We get through even more layers of personality, of identity. We don't see ourselves the way other people see us. We're not quite so self conscious. We're not quite so obsessed or focused on how we're being seen, or how other people seem to be perceiving us. Because we understand that that's just superficial as well.
That's other people's sensory experience of who we are. And when we get down under our own senses, Under what things look like, things sound like, what things seem like, and venture on towards moving a little bit closer to what things actually seem to be, what they actually are, we start to let go of some of these attachments to other people's definitions of who we are.
Because if we're discovering something far deeper, through taking the time to really be aware of ourselves, then we understand that those past superficial beliefs about ourselves are what other people are thinking of us. And when we abandon our superficial beliefs about ourselves, we stop putting so much stock, we stop putting so much value on other people's superficial beliefs of us as well.
Because we know something more, we know something greater, we know something they don't, because they can't. They can't have deep awareness of us because our own awareness has been achieved through our own self awareness. And then we go down even deeper, try to get to the core, try to get to the root, try to get to the source, try to get to the beginning, the origin of not only our own experience, But the origin of what is feeding our experience in any given moment.
And then a funny thing happens, that the closer we get to our own core, the more we seem to connect with the rest of life, with the rest of creation. And it's kind of a funny paradox, that the greater our self awareness is, the more we connect with everyone and everything else. That at the root of self awareness is not ultimate selfishness, is not ultimate self centeredness, is not ultimate self obsession.
It's actually connection. That we connect to everyone and everything else by going as deeply inside of ourselves first. That we find our way to the exterior by first plumbing and exploring our own interiors. So if we're on this path, if we've decided to explore our own consciousness... It can really be important to look at our own motives, because that's a big part of self awareness too.
That it's not only understanding what we do, but it's really looking at and being as honest as possible, why are we doing it? What do we expect to get out of it? Are we exploring our own consciousness just so we can get something? It's kind of like if we look at our behavior. And we think about ourselves as a really giving, generous person.
But then we peel some layers back and we really look at our own behavior. And perhaps we realize that all of this giving was actually being done to get. That we weren't really giving fully. We were attempting to use our giving to receive. That we wanted to create a certain idea about ourselves. We wanted to create a certain perception.
That we wanted to Perhaps disprove ideas about ourselves, that we were deficient in some way, that we're not enough in some way. That if we can just give enough, perhaps we'll be enough. Perhaps if enough people like us, perhaps if enough people see us as this giving, generous spirit. Then maybe we'll be okay.
Then maybe we are okay. Maybe we're not as fractured and flawed and broken as we thought we were. These kind of awarenesses are really difficult to have. But we all have them. None of us is as moral and pure and upstanding and righteous as we think we are. That's part of the human condition. We're all flawed in some way.
We're all broken in some way. We're all hurt in some way. And the goal... isn't to strive, isn't to achieve some sort of perfect being or perfect behavior. The goal is to get to the truth. The goal is to understand. The goal is to be conscious. Because again, that's where our true being really lies, in our consciousness.
That's where true connection really lies, in our consciousness. I think some would say, I know I would say, that everything we want actually exists in our own consciousness, because that's all there is, is consciousness. It's consciousness all the way down. So if we really want to create some sort of change in our life, if we really want to live a certain life, if we really want to be intentional about our own life experience, or if we just want to know the truth, we don't want to live a life shrouded in deception and illusion and manipulation.
We just want to get to something real. We're so tired, we're so weary of the false, the false promises of life, of the false promises of others. But the beliefs that we have have turned out to be untrue, that we've experienced enough illusion and delusion for one life, and we've realized that no measure of falsity can ever sustain us, can ever nourish us, can ever support us the way we want.
That if it's not really real, it doesn't really matter, it doesn't really give us what we want. In fact, the false only perpetuates. The hunger for the real, and we choose what we focus on. We choose what we endeavor after. We choose what we want. And ultimately, if we want the truth, if we want to pursue the truth, if we want to endeavor after the truth, if the truth is what matters, and perhaps if the truth is all that matters, Then consciousness is our pathway.
Consciousness is our route to actually find it. And of course the requirement of seeking truth through consciousness is awareness. The requirement of seeking truth is truth. Is noticing and acknowledging and honoring how things actually are. Is working to pierce and dissolve our own deception, our own illusion.
Both in how we deceive ourselves and how we deceive others. We're looking for the truth in the whole truth, and this can only be pursued, this can only be experienced through our own dedication to the truth, through our own acting and thinking and behaving in truth. If it's truth we want, it's truth we must be devoted to.
It's truth we must be committed to, because truth cannot be achieved or experienced or known through illusion, through delusion, through... Manipulation. Truth is experience through truth. And so if we really want to know, if we really want to understand, if we really want to expand our consciousness and endeavor after this idea of what's really going on here?
What's really true? Who am I truly? What am I truly? Then we have to focus on consciousness. We have to focus on the idea of I am, and if we don't know where to start, if we're too wrapped up in ideas like what do I want, what do I need, what am I going to get, what should I do next, and we want to get to perhaps a little bit more important question or just a little bit more fundamental question, we want to get underneath these ideas of constant superficial need fulfillment in really getting to somewhere that resembles truth, then we can do it through identifying and exploring our own sense of I am.
And we can start there. We can sit in a chair, we can go on a walk, we can lie down, we can do it before we go to sleep, we can do it when we first wake up. And just ponder this idea of I am, and not I am blank, not conditioning this consciousness, just dwelling in consciousness itself. Because that's enough.
Because it's so easy to live life so focused on what we're trying to get, what we're trying to get done, what we're trying to get accomplished. What we're trying to receive, what we're trying to achieve, what we're trying to accumulate, what we're trying to project, what we're trying to perform. It could be such a welcome relief to just dwell in being, just dwell in consciousness, just ponder the idea of I am, of I exist.
I am part of existence and existence is part of me. Existence is what's happening right now and I don't need to condition it, I don't need to make it any different than what it is right now. I can just experience it. I can go completely passive and just be and that's enough. And this is how I make contact with the source of creation.
This is what's underneath everything that exists because this is unconditioned existence. This is unconditioned creation. This is what everything is before it exists in being. This is connecting to non being. This is on the other side of the curtain. This is on the other side of the veil. This is what everything is made of before it's made.
This is the engine of creation. This unconditioned awareness of consciousness. This is a really useful exercise. At the very least, this is a really useful exercise. To start to lean away, to start to break some of the habits around our own self centeredness, around us spending every waking second trying to get something, trying to do something, and learn to just be.
Because at least on a moment by moment basis, all of this getting and all of this doing is optional. Or just things that we've decided to try to get or do. A lot of times this is just our own thinking, this is just our own beliefs, this is just our own habits, this is just our own individual behavior, but consciousness, but being exists beneath us, is more than us, is where we come from, is where everything comes from.
And just connecting, just stepping outside of ourselves for a minute, outside of our own thinking. Outside of our own needs, outside of our own wants, outside of our own desires, our own appetites and just connect with something deeper can be so nourishing, can be so calming because we can just chill out for a second, we can just set all of our needs down, all of our wants down, everything that's unsatisfied.
And unrequited and unpaid off in our life and instead just be because ultimately that's what we are. We are a being at our core. That's what it's the root of all existence. Yet we can complicate things so much through our own consumption, through our own appetites, our own thinking, through our own beliefs, and to be able to just get underneath all of these things, to just get underneath ourselves, get out of our own way.
And to connect with something more real, more fundamental, connect with something far greater than ourselves, connect with infinity. And creation itself, that connection, can give us the nourishment, the peace, the reward, the joy, the satisfaction that we're really looking for. This can be an exceptionally useful exercise in times of confusion, in times of despair, in times of depression, in times of frustration, in times of grief, of sparing ourselves constant grinding experience.
of existing on those layers and just getting underneath them down to our own being, to our own fundamental core, can also be exceptionally helpful with resolving the conflicts in our life, especially if we find the majority of our conflicts are due to us acting against our own being. Against who and what we really are.
We've been too artificially devoted to the superficial, to things that don't actually matter that much to us. Having to go out in the world, a different being than we really are. Having to perform, having to be differently than who and what we really are. Because the first step into bringing ourselves into alignment with who and what we really are.
It actually has nothing to do with changing our behavior, but has everything to do with actually knowing who and what we really are. Because once something is known, once something is known fully, once something is really absorbed into a sense of knowing, into a sense of belief, it's really been folded into our own consciousness.
It's really been folded into our own awareness of who and what we really are. And when that happens, it can't help but be reflected in our behavior, once we know who and what we really are. And of course this is always expanding, but that can't be unknown, it can't be ignored without a cost. It can't be avoided, it can't be eschewed without creating internal conflict, without being felt.
And so in a life full of questions, in a life full of confusion, in a life full of wondering where to go and what to do, there's one question that runs through all other questions. There's one question that's more important, that's more vital than all other questions. And that's who am I. And the thing that's the most vital to explore, most vital to really get to know more, is ourselves, is our own self awareness, is to expand our own consciousness more towards the truth, more towards the truth, and as full of an awareness as we can achieve.
Knowing that idea of full awareness will constantly be expanding, and it's never ending. There's always more to be aware of. That everything we experience in life is experienced through our own consciousness. Everything we create in life is created through our own consciousness. So if we want to do anything about our experience, if we want to do anything about the creative energies and forces running through our life, then it's our own consciousness that we must go into, that we must explore, that we must expand.
This is the route that runs through and to everything. And we can start, we can start to explore by just sitting with consciousness itself. By just dwelling in the awareness of I am, going deep down into the awareness of I am, realizing that everything gets created, flows out of being. Everything we create for ourselves.
Everything that gets attached. I am. I am happy. I am healthy. I am miserable. I am sad. I am wealthy. I am poor. I am important. I am unknown. Anything that gets attached. has to start with I Am, has to start with Being. And we explore this deeply enough, and we find ourselves connecting with the rest of creation, because the rest of creation is Being as well.
The rest of creation is also an I Am, and that through Being, we are connected with the rest of creation fully. And then we realize that we ourselves are creation. We are no different from every other aspect of creation. There is no other. There's only one. And the only one is I Am.