From ‘Consciousness and the Absolute’ by Nisargadatta Maharaj:
People identify me with their concepts and they do what their concepts tell them. It is consciousness which is manifest, nothing else. Who is talking, who is walking, who is sitting? These are the expressions of that chemical “I Am”. Are you that chemical? You talk about heaven and hell, this Mahatma or that one, but how about you? Who are you? In meditation, one sees a lot of visions. They are in the chemical, the realm of your consciousness, are they not? All these things are connected only to that birth-chemical. You are not this chemical “I Am”.
All these activities go on, but they are only entertainment. The waking and deep sleep states come and go spontaneously. Through the sense of “I”, you spontaneously feel like working. But find out if this sense of “I” is real or unreal, permanent or impermanent.
The Ultimate state in spirituality is that state where no needs are felt at any time, where nothing is useful for anything. That state is called Nirvana, Nirguna, that which is the Eternal and Ultimate Truth. The essence and sum total of this whole talk is called Sat-guru Parabrahman, that state in which there are no requirements.
Freedom means letting go. People just do not care to let go of everything. They do not know that the finite is the price of the infinite, as death is the price of immortality. Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything. The giving up is the final step. But the real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own. It is like deep sleep – you do not give up your bed when you fall asleep – you just forget it.
The essence of the body is the essence of the foodstuff, and this consciousness lies dormant in it from the very beginning. In that state of consciousness is the entire universe. Having seen this, whoever has understood is bound to be quiet, knowing that this is only a transient happening. An enormous structure of concepts being taught to us as knowledge is based on the simple appearance of consciousness.
Recite the sacred name, that is all right, but the important thing is to recognize and understand what is the presiding principle by which you know you are and by which you perceive everything else. You must look at yourself, get to know yourself. The riddle of spirituality cannot be solved by your intellect. At the most, your intellect can provide you with livelihood.
Any thought that you have reached or are going to reach that state is false. Whatever happens in consciousness is purely imaginary, an hallucination; therefore, keep in mind the knowledge that it is consciousness in which everything is happening. With that knowledge, be still, do not pursue any other thoughts which arise in consciousness. What is necessary is to understand with sure conviction is that all is temporary, and does not reflect your true state.
You are afraid because you have assumed something as ‘I am’, which actually you are not. Suppose you find a diamond ring on the road and you pocket it. Since it is not yours, a fear overcomes you. When you put on an identity that is not yours, you are afraid. When you are the pure ‘I amness’ only, there is no fear. Presently you are this ‘I am’, but this ‘I am’ is not the truth. Whatever you are prior to the appearance of ‘I am’, that is your real nature.
(For more info about Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, please visit: http://www.nisargadatta.co.cc)