“I” Does Not Exist

"We" are in this together.

Recently, I have had more than one person express to me that they were uncertain of their own existence.  There is a 40 year age gap between the youngest and the oldest person, so I can only assume that this idea is something that more people  are contemplating .  Since being asked the question, I have given a lot of thought to how I can express in words what my thoughts are on this inquiry.  The most simple way I could think to express it is that “I” does not exist.

So, what does that mean? Well, it means that there is no such thing as an individual existence.  There just isn’t.  For some of you this will be a hard pill to swallow.  I suggest not even giving it another thought.  But for those of you who sense the truth in this, I think that you will feel some sense of comfort as I continue explaining.  You see, in our Western culture we put a lot of stock in the idea of “I”.  “I like this.”  “I don’t like that.”  “This is mine; not yours.”  For many of us, we define ourselves more by what we are not than by what we our because we spend the greater portion of our consciousness trying to protect our “I”.

The fact is, “I” is a lie.  Not to sound morose, but that is something my dad realized before he died.  I actually have recordings of him explaining this to me and asking me to tell others to become a “We” as quickly as they can so that they can enjoy life.  My dad was a person that thought incessantly.  Most of the time he was trying to make sense of the past and trying to control the future.  That probably sounds like a familiar focus to some of you reading. 

Like many people, he also dedicated a large amount of his life trying to distract himself from thinking.  He did this through overworking himself and fighting a constant battle with different habits–both helpful and hindering.  But more than anything he was a man with a great capacity for love who was extremely afraid of getting hurt.  For the human soul, there is no greater torment, because it is the role of perfected love to cast out fear.  Trying to marry fear to love destroys the joy in life.

So what does this have to do with the existence of “I”.  Well, only the “I” can be controlled by fear.  It fears that it will get what it wants–to be alone, to be an individual existence.  Think about it.  Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone you love and said you wanted to be left alone while simultaneously not wanting the other to go too far away?  This is a sign of what I mean.  “I” stands for ILLUSION!  None of us can stand alone.  We all know this intrinsically. 

As my dad said, “There is only “We”.  Why do you think we are all so caught up in communication and staying connected.  Why do you think that we spend hours on facebook and twitter?  Why do we dress like people that we think are loved or attractive?  Why do we chase after material things and hold on to the past so tightly?  It is all for the same reason.  We want to belong and be what we are–a “We”.

So to those of you who question your individual existence, you are headed toward truth.  The part of you that you indentify as “I” does not exist.  Everything belongs to everything else in the Absolute Wholeness of Creation.  Not even the smallest constituent of matter or the most insignificant thought stands alone in all of the Universe.  We are all part of the Grandest Idea in the Mind of God.  But in order to receive the joy of this knowing, we have to surrender the illusion of “I”. 

Look at it this way.  We all will have to let it go someday.  This is what my dad realized.  But he realized it when he didn’t have the option.  He saw that he had never been an “I”–only a “We”.   “We” lives.  “I” dies.    This truth is evident in these words attributed to Jesus:

‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Life comes in living as a “We”.  This was crucial to Christ’s teachings because our unity is the essence of Truth.  You cannot have Unity alone.  “We” are alive in relationship with Life.  When we try to find any truth in the “I” outside of relationship with Life we will always find what does not exist and we will not taste the joy of what is available to us in Love.

2 replies »

  1. “I” think this is an intersting take on it man… being the youngest person in that gap you talked about I still have the most time to figure this out… this is my favorite question of all time. I would argue that u cannot make a we without an I… but if u were to say that we don’t exist you would be going against christs teaching and heading into buddhas relm of thinking. So I’m happy u stayed with what u believed. I didn’t think one could answer that question without completely contradicting jesus… just because of my nature I will argue on this one and say that you can’t prove that I or we exist at all. The typical ” I think, therefor I am” comment is bull. The truth is that no one knows the truth. If kno one knows the truth, and the truth is the only real thing… then no one exists. We live in an illusion where we are coaxed into thinking our earthly bodies define us as beings. This is a dream.. an illusion..

    I am not enlightened, I am awake.
    – buddha

    Much love.

    Next topic!! “Assuming we exist of course, are we free?”


    • I understand where you are coming from BI and I feel quite certain that there are points where some Christians and Buddhists would absolutely agree with regard to what you term “illusion”. Even I havea sense of what you mean and probably feel it as well. I agree in the sense that the truth is the only thing thatexists. Therefore if we do not know the truth… However, I do believe that we are born of the truth and can come to know who we are in truth and thus exist. However, I also believe thatwithout loving the Wholly Other–mind, body, and Soul–knowing the Truth is impossible. If you find yourself trying to make sense out of nonsense check out my blogs at http://therooflesschurch.comand http://jcsicareerassist.wordpress.com –PS2


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