The following taken from words spoken almost a hundred years ago by twentieth-century Indian Guru Sri Ramana Maharshi is heady stuff and took me a few reads to let it soak it.
Every living being longs to be perpetually happy, without any misery. Since in everyone the highest love is alone felt for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause of love, in order to attain that happiness, which is one’s real nature and which is experienced daily in the mindless state of deep sleep, it is necessary to know oneself. To achieve that, enquiry in the form ‘Who am I?’ is the foremost means. ‘Who am I?’ The physical body… is not ‘I’. The five sense organs… and the five types of perception known through the senses… are not ‘I’. The five… vital functions such as respiration, are not ‘I’. Even the mind that thinks is not ‘I’. Devoid of sensory knowledge and activity, even this [state] is not ‘I’. After negating all of the above as ‘not I, not I’, the knowledge that alone remains is itself ‘I’. The Self, one’s real nature, alone exists and is real.
What I end up with in boiling down the Guru’s line of thinking is: when everything I think, feel or can do is stripped away, it is there “I” am to be found. It is only then when I am in touch with the essence of myself can I be truly happy. I get it and am grateful for light into my understanding. It is in the letting go; letting go of everything, where “I” am to be discovered.
We carry within us
the wonders we seek