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The Practical Application & Fruits of Self Knowledge: I AM

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST (maybe the most) practical articles I have ever written, as it cuts to the core of how to understand and apply the teaching of Self Knowledge so you can experience the fruits for yourself now.

Reading and applying what you learn here will help develop the experiential understanding that is imperative to Self Realization. Read it, re-read it and go for it.

At some time, sooner rather than later, I think it is really important to have a solid understanding of a comprehensive and complete teaching of Self Knowledge, at least intellectually at first. Without a solid understanding of a comprehensive teaching, the experiences and realizations the pointers facilitate are almost always misunderstood and misapplied. I work with two forms of the Perennial Wisdom Teachings, but there are many others from which you can choose.

First, Some Background to Set the Context

The teachings of Self Knowledge that I present here are rooted in the ancient traditional teachings of Self Knowledge developed over the centuries in the East and the West.

Nisargadatta’s teaching is quite similar to that of Adi Shankara, the 8th century philosopher-teacher who organized the ancient Hindu teachings from the Vedas, the Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras into what many refer to as Advaita Vedanta - which essentially teaches a means to non-dual Self Knowledge.

The core philosophy of A Course in Miracles is quite similar to that of the ancient Greek philosophers-teachers Socrates, Plato and Plotinus. Socrates, as we know through Plato’s dialogues, taught that truth is absolute, not relative; and they emphasized the importance of Self Knowledge, and understanding that the truth of one’s Self is absolute not relative. Plotinus organized some of Plato’s spiritual teachings of Self Knowledge and they are presented in the Enneads. While A Course in Miracles uses Judeo-Christian, biblical language, in terms of their fundamental philosophies, ACIM and the Bible are mutually exclusive systems of thought - they are completely different. A Course in Miracles is a teaching of non-dual Self Knowledge in the Neo-Platonic tradition.

Over the years I have studied the ancient teachings of the East and West, and the modern presentations of the ancient teachings. Virtually every idea I present here is based on these modernized-ancient teachings; with mainly just my whacky personality added (Sri Sri Chimpanzee).

I think it is important to be aware of the source of the teachings because you can follow up on them and do your own research if you are so inclined. Also, it is important to know that the teachings are based on the philosophies that formed the foundations of Eastern and Western cultures.

As you study the ancient philosophies of the East and West you will realize that our modern social organizations, schools, religions, governments; virtually every aspect of the way we think, feel, relate to each other, and live our lives can be traced to the ancient schools of thought.

Now We Begin to Get Practical

If you are interested, I am going to show how you can save yourself twenty years of confusion and frustration by focusing in for twenty minutes to start, and you can begin to develop a solid, practical, experiential understanding of the teachings of non-dual Self Knowledge.

There is nothing esoteric or weird about this teaching. If you find yourself thinking or saying weird things like, “There’s no me;” “There’s nothing I can do;” “I don’t exist;” “There’s nothing to teach;” “It’s all an illusion;” “There’s no mind;” “I am not the body.”

Or repeating silly questions like, “Who would do that?” “Who wants to know?” “Who am I?” - Stop it! Don’t repeat those silly, weird questions and statements. If you cannot explain the teaching of Self Knowledge in everyday language like a normal human being in a way that the average High School student can understand - STOP IT.

Take twenty minutes, or however long it takes, to focus in and understand the purpose behind those silly, weird statements and questions. And if you find benefit here, follow through and develop your understanding further.

A Visual Overview

Having a visual overview of the whole teaching on one sheet of paper, showing the complete teaching in context, and in an easy-to-understand format that a High Schooler can understand and explain is of immeasurable value.  (How’s that for a run-on sentence? Sorry Miss Friedlander! She taught me better-er).

Self Knowledge Diagram - One Page - Printable PDF

Five-thousand years of the most brilliant teachings in recorded history are illustrated on this one 8 ˝ x 11 sheet of paper. Do yourself a favor, open and print the Self Knowledge Diagram so you can refer to it easily.

Now bear with me here and have some patience; give yourself some time to take in all this and understand it, and feel it. Riding a bike is easy once you can ride a bike; but it’s a little wobbly when you first start pedaling. And it’s a lot easier to ride a bike than it is to write down and explain how to ride a bike - you get me? So let’s go for a spin....

The Whole Purpose of the Teaching of Self Knowledge

The whole purpose of the teaching of Self Knowledge, funny enough, is to know who or what I AM. Hmmm, would you believe it? Self Knowledge. Wow, that makes sense. Keep that in mind always.

Let’s make this practical. “I AM.” Why is there so much talk of this “I AM”? Notice on the Self Knowledge Diagram the position of “I AM.” All of your experiences in your life are determined by what you identify yourself as. I AM _________ is at the root of every experience in your life. Are you getting that? EVERY experience, without exception, has its root cause in your identity, what you believe you are. Let that sink in for a while.

Now go into this with me. Please, save yourself twenty years and 26,062 YouTube videos watched; 14,217 non-dual pointers read; 10,099 hours of meditation; 6,813 spiritual books read, and....Oh, God, please let it end!

Notice in your normal, everyday life, even right now, what comes after the “I AM” causes your experience. I AM ________? When I AM with my parents, I AM a son or a daughter. When I AM with my siblings, I AM a brother or a sister. When I AM with my boss, I AM an employee. When I AM with my children, I AM a father or mother. When I AM in school, I AM a student. When I play music, I AM a musician.

Go into these identities. Play with them a bit. Notice what you experience, how you feel and what you think when you become or “I AM” your various identities.

What else do you identify yourself as? Are you a woman? I AM a woman. Are you a man? I AM a man? Are you heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual? I AM________? I AM an atheist. I AM a Buddhist. I AM Hindu. I AM spiritual. I AM Caucasian. I AM a Socialist, a Communist, a Libertarian.  I AM a sick person, a healthy person, a strong person, a weak person. I Am mentally healthy, mentally ill, a neurotic, a psychotic. When I AM in love, I AM a lover, and its “sexy-time!” Tee hee-hee-hee. I AM______? (watch "Business Time" by Flight of the Conchords for a really good laugh)

Notice How You Feel About Yourself When Your Identity Changes

Also, and this is of great importance, notice how you experience other people and the world when your identity shifts. Does your world change when you change identities? HINT: Hell yeah!! Notice how you make and enter a whole new world the instant your identity shifts. Do it. Notice it. Don’t keep repeating silly non-dual pointers until you vomit all over yourself, please, that’s gross.

Take some time and experiment with shifting your identity and noticing how your experience changes, sometimes drastically, as you shift identities. Keep playing with this until you feel quite shocked by how dramatic your experience changes as your identity changes. And keep experimenting until you are shocked at how a whole different world appears the moment you change from one identity to another.

How many different identities do you have in a normal day? In a month, a year? How many different identities have you experienced as “yourself” so far in your life? Are you the happy one? The lonely one? The smart one? The dumb one? The miserable one? Have you been the young child? The rebellious teen? The inspired adult? The elderly curmudgeon? Who have you been? Who are you right now? Are you the seeker? The curious one? Who?

If you are interested in Self Knowledge and would like to save yourself 1.2 gazillion years of confusion and frustration, re-read the previous few paragraphs and put the suggestions into practice; do it for yourself now. Then do it again later today. Then again tomorrow. And the next day. Keep shifting your identity and notice how your experience changes, and notice how your world changes.

Feel it. Then read on...

Now to the Self Knowledge Diagram

Notice where the I AM is positioned, and think of yourself as this I AM. Feel it. Now you can “pick up” the I AM and shift it around the Self Knowledge Diagram. Move the I Am below and to the left where it says, ”Personal self - Divided mind” and put your name there. I Am Pat, a separate, personal self. Notice the description in that box which represents your identity as a separate self. Notice what your purpose is. Feel it. Notice what you are guided by. Feel it. Get a good feel for your identity as a separate self. I AM_______ a separate, personal self.

Now move on...

Listen, You Have to Ride the Bike for Yourself. No One Can Ride Your Bike for You. Do It.

Now shift yourself, your identity, “I AM” down and to the left, to the “Personal World - Dream World - Divided World.” Notice the description there. Notice your purpose there - feel it. Notice the other ideas of yourself there - feel them. What does it feel like in your world down there? Does it feel familiar? Go into it.

The “Light of Truth” represents the teaching of Self Knowledge. The inquiry and investigation we are doing now is part of the Light of Truth. As we go deeply into this inquiry now, you may notice your identity shifting.

Shift yourself, I AM, over to the bottom right, the “Whole World.” Notice the description there. This is the experience you begin to have as the teaching of Self Knowledge starts to sink in. Notice what your purpose is now, and how it is different from your purpose before you noticed the Light of Truth shining into your mind and world. Feel it.

And now you can shift your identity up the left side to the “Real Self - Whole Mind - Heart.” I AM the Real Self, I AM the Heart. Notice the description there - feel it.

Now go back to the I AM, and above to the left. Notice the description “Universal Consciousness-Mind, Creator-Preserver-Destroyer.” Let your identity shift there, feel it. I AM the Creator. I AM the Creator of all identities; all worlds are my creation. Watch yourself creating your identity, and watch yourself create your world - do it. Because I AM as I AM, the world is as it is. Notice your purpose as the Universal Mind. Feel it. Know it. Let it sink in.

Keep Pedaling, It Gets Easier

Now shift your identity over to the right to the “Witness-Knower.” Let yourself become the witness. I AM the witness. And relax into your Natural State. I AM relaxed in and as my own Natural State. Take your time and come back to this again and again. You will feel it more each time.

Now notice the Source of the I AM, up above. Let your identity shift. I AM the Source, I AM the Infinite Potential, I AM the Light, I AM the One. Notice yourself as the Light and the Light can blend into itself, until there is all Light. I Am the Light. Take your time. Relax into it, and feel it.

And notice how you can shift your identity back to the personal self when you want. I AM _______. And you can notice how you have a new perspective on being a separate personal self, and a new appreciation and love for yourself, because you know your personal self is simply one part of your Whole Identity, your Whole Self. I AM _______?

You May Burst into Tears or You May Burst into Laughter - You Will Feel It

And it will sink in more and more. You will understand, know, feel and experience the meaning, value and purpose of the Perennial Wisdom Teachings of Self Knowledge. You will find it easier to fulfil your purpose in life, your purpose for being, which is to know, feel and experience yourself as the Absolute, Unconditional Love of the One. I AM the One. And now I know my Self. All is my Self. I AM the Self. I AM the Light.

And do it again. And again.


THE TEACHING OF SELF KNOWLEDGE is given to facilitate an experential shift in Identity. As your Identity changes, your experience changes because your experience is projected from your core belief in what you are. Hence the importance of Self Knowledge, and its strong emphasis in the various spiritual teachings.


You can begin to know, feel and experience yourself as the Absolute, Unconditional Love of the One. I am the Love of the One. This is the purpose for your life; you can take that to the bank. This is the fulfillment of our purpose for being.


Every morning as you wake up, and every evening as you drift off into sleep you can remember your purpose. Today I will learn to accept myself, forgive myself for my perceived faults, and love myself and others unconditionally. This is why I am here. This is my life's mission.




Self Knowledge Teachings from Nisargadatta's I AM THAT
The Self Realization Diagram with Key Terms PDF book is an organized, comprehensive compilation of Nisargadatta Maharaj's teaching of Self Knowledge in I AM THAT. It illustrates his teaching in a clear context, is structured in parallel with the Self Knowledge Diagram, and employs the Key Terms used in I AM THAT. This is a brilliant teaching.
Self Knowledge Teachings from A Course in Miracles
The Notes on the Text of A Course in Miracles – Condensed Version PDF book is the compilation of my notes on a series of lectures given by Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D. entitled "Classes on the Text of A Course in Miracles." In this Condensed Version I have removed the quotes from the Text that Wapnick used in his classes and provided only my notes based on Wapnick's brilliant commentaries in his lectures. The original full version is here - Notes on A Course in Miracles - Full Version. A Course in Miracles could be titled "A Course in Self Knowledge" as the miracle is a radical shift in identity. This, too, is a brilliant teaching.
This Diagram illustrates a comprehensive and complete teaching of Self Knowledge:
Self Knowledge Diagram - Printable PDF