How do I know, I know?
Language plays tricks. If we remove the word ‘I’ from this question, it now asks, “How does knowing know?” We then realise that there is only knowing that knows. There is no need (or time) for an ‘I’ to know. Knowing is our nature: without it, nothing could ever be known. We are knowingness, or rather, there is just knowingness…we come into the picture a moment later!
When an ‘I’ comes into the picture, consciousness/mind wants to categorise everything. That categorising and claiming is ego activity, and in doing this, knowingness separates itself from knowing, to a thing known. The knowing is transferred to an object, and knowingness is distracted – it forgets itself. It now sees the thing known as a reality, which it isn’t.
Our true nature is knowingness/awareness. When this knowingness/awareness becomes aware of itself, it finds nothing. This nothingness is uncontaminated space = emptiness. That is essence. That is pure being. That is holiness – or wholiness. When knowing/awareness recognises its pure empty essence, that is called the unity of the two truths.
The ultimate realisation of this unity is compassion: knowing what we all are. From this, the expression of love naturally arises.
For convention’s sake, we use the words ‘I’ and ‘we’, as, without these, it will sound a bit dry. It’s just a matter of knowing that the ‘I’ is not a permanent fixture: it comes into the picture a moment later, and that is how dharmakaya (our essence) became desire. In this way, emptiness becomes filled.
There is nothing wrong with an I. Just know its place…a moment later!