What does it mean to ‘go inside’?

by Vic Shayne
13 Pillars of Enlightenment

Human beings speak in metaphors, and the words “inside” and “outside” are no exception, because there really is no such thing as inside or outside. If you go deep enough into an object, or your own body, down through the layers of tissues, cells, molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles, eventually you come to nothing but space. And the same is true if you go out, out, and out into the atmosphere beyond the planet and then keep going, you come to nothing but space. If you venture far into the reaches of space you may come to another planet or a star and when you get closer and closer and closer then it too disappears into space.

Either way, inside or outside, you come to space. So the first question that comes to mind is: What is this space? And the second question is: Who am I related to this space?

So the words inside and outside are metaphors; they represent a concept. If you use your senses, such as your sight, you perceive objects, people, nature, animals, and phenomena that the mind interprets — because you have been taught to do so — as “outside.” These things are the contents of consciousness, the expressions that appear to be apart from you as the seer or the experiencer. But are they really apart from you? To know who you really are is to know what you are not, and if you go into the depths of your self then you find nothing but a space of potentiality from which all else seems to emanate.

When the attention is placed “inside,” this word represents the source of the observing, or the emptiness/potentiality out of which all is made manifest. But it is not really inside at all. The mind thinks in terms of relationships, comparisons, images, and spatiality, and it separates the totality of consciousness into inside and outside. It misinforms you that you are the locus of awareness in relation to an “other.”

To “go inside,” therefore, metaphorically means to place the attention on the source out of which all becomes manifest. This is often called the “I am,” which is a sense of awareness that has no attachment to the things of which it is aware. But at some point even the “I am” becomes known as a concept and it too must dissipate, especially because the word “I” tends to denote an individual self, which is a locus.

If you were to go deep into the sense that is beyond the egoic self — the sense of “me” or “I” —and the body, beyond thought, imagination, ideas, memories, knowledge, belief, and all cognition, you find nothing but space that is the capacity for all existence; and yet this space is not existence, and it is realized to be nothingness that is full of all that exists. When awareness, too, is surpassed then there is not even a realization or differentiation between this or that, inside or outside, me or you, and so on.



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Vic Shayne

…writer for 40+ years, mind/body practitioner, self-enquiry meditation, NY Times best selling author (https://amzn.to/2CeaSE), consultant, researcher.