I Am But There Is No 'Me'


What is called 'experience' is the effect of reacting. It has no existence as such. It is sensually interpreted as pleasant or unpleasant, i.e. as positive or negative sensation, but it is conceptual, not factual.

What is it that experiences? Surely this is the ultimate question?
Must that not always appear as 'me'?
Whenever there is experience, cognisance, is there not also the presence of 'me'?

And vice-versa whenever there seems to be awareness of 'me', must there not be a present experience?
Can either appear without the other?
Are they not - therefore - inseparable?


Experience, therefore, is inseparable from 'me'; whenever it occurs a self, an object, experiences it. Always it is experienced by 'me', never by 'I' or by 'you'.

I cannot suffer experience, because only an object can appear to suffer, and I can never be anything objective - which is any thing at all.
Nor can 'you' suffer experience, for in any kind of experience suffering is suffered as 'me' and by 'me', whoever seems to have the experience.
Therefore 'experiencing' and 'me' are both objects and inseparable.

When I say 'I suffer an experience', that is nonsense - for an experience can only appear to be suffered by an objective 'me', and that experience and that 'me' are inseparable.
This fallacious identification of what-I-am, of I, with 'me', of subjectivity with objectivity, is precisely what is meant by 'bondage': it is what 'bondage' is.

For, This I am, but that 'me' is not. A 'me', like any and every object, is sunya and k'ung, existentially null and void, non-existent except as a concept in mind.
But since experience is a reaction to stimulus, the question subsists: what is it that reacts?
The answer is that what reacts is the experiencing of the experience, which is 'me'.


Therefore what is assumed to be the nominative 'I' regarded as an object - absurd contradiction-in-terms as that is - referred to in the genitive, dative, and ablative cases as 'me', and also in the accusative except when the verb that denotes 'being' is used, is a sensorial apparatus whereby experience is suffered psycho-somatically.

It is indeed noteworthy that in the English language the concept of 'being' should be reserved for 'I'. One may even be tempted to surmise that this abnormality might represent a deep-seated apprehension of the truth. Such phrases as 'I am I', You are I', 'He, she or it is I', 'We are I', are pure metaphysical expressions of the truth in so far as that could ever be stated is dualist terms. This is surely a sacred linguistic tradition if anything could be so-called!

The conclusion, both linguistically and metaphysically, is that I experience as 'me'.

From this it should follow that I, objectified as 'me', as manifold 'me', am experiencing as such, and that experience is the objective functioning of what I am.

Experience is reagent, it is an interpretation of a sensorial reaction to stimulus, but however complex or simple this mechanism in a context of space and duration may appear to be, it may be apprehended as the essential manifestation of what-I-am objectified as 'me'.


May we not conclude, therefore, that since every sentient being appears to live and to experience, each one as 'me', 'living' as such is experiencing as 'me', and every sentient being must therefore be an example of the objectification of I-subject, utterly in-existent phenomenally as such, but all that whatever is manifest can be assumed ultimately to be?

Since, however, nothing but what is phenomenal, which is objective, can be assumed to be - for neither the word 'being' nor 'existing' can imply anything but what is cognisable - we reach the inevitable conclusion that manifestation is not the manifestation of any objective 'thing', which could only be a concept in split-mind. It must be mind as such, not in its divided aspect which produces phenomenality via subject-and-object, but its in-temporal and in-finite wholeness which can only be indicated by 'I'. Any sentient being, whose sentience it is, may say it, but none can ever know it, for wholeness could never be known since knowledge results from its division, and an object cannot know the subject which is all that it is.

I can know that I am it, for all I am is what it is, but what 'it' is I can never know - for 'it' cannot be any 'thing' that could be known - otherwise than conceptually as each and all of 'its' dualised phantomatic representatives objectivised as 'you'.

* * *

To say 'I' suffer is non-sense, for I cannot possibly suffer, since I have no objective quality that could experience any sensation whatever. But suffering, positive or negative, joy or sorrow, can be experienced by an identified 'you' called 'me'.

(© T.J. Gray, 1968)

* * * * *