Awareness is like a flashlight and it flashes on things. So your knee itches, it flashes. You think about the death in Bosnia, it flashes. You’re aware of that light over there, it flashes. It’s just going; flash, flash, flash…

You can most easily watch your consciousness when you’re just waking up in the morning. It’s fun because you’re moving in and out of planes until the thought comes, “I need to go to the bathroom.” It sort of stands out like a thought in space. It’s, “I need to go to the bathroom.” It’s nothing personal, it’s just the expression of that need. Then the other one like, “I could sleep ten more minutes.” Then they really start, “It’s warm in that corner; I’ve gotta make that phone call; gotta do the laundry; Oh, I wish I could smell coffee.” On and on it goes and you start like a trip-hammer all day long, “Think me – think me – think me – I’m real, think me – think me – gotta think of me and hey, have you thought of me?”

The thoughts are very fast so it all seems solid but it’s actually linear, it just seems solid. Isn’t that far out? You spend a moment keeping yourself erect so that you can ignore that and do something else, but it’s still happening. All these incredible adjustment mechanisms. And then when you see that there is the flashlight flashing on all of these things, you realize the flashlight can’t flash on itself, can you hear the predicament?

The question is, how could you possibly examine whether or not you are the flashlight instead of all the phenomena the flashlight flashes on, including yourself. The thought of “who I think I am” is something the flashlight flashes on.

And what are the qualities of the flashlight? It’s just awareness.


-Ram Dass