dockThe spiritual family with whom I spent thirty-seven years had a decade-long aversion to the word “I.” It was seen to point to the personal self, and since we all desperately wanted to lose that self, many people–even a few teachers–avoided using the personal pronoun. One teacher circumvented the word “I” for years, referring to himself as “this person.” This avoidance turns our language inside out, and forces strange passive constructions in what could be simple, everyday language. In a subtle way–by drawing attention–this reinforced the apparent separate self even more.

What if we understand “I” refers to that which cannot be expressed adequately in words–to pure awareness? Then, each time we speak of ourselves it is a gentle reminder of the beyond-personal that we all are. It serves to call us home.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: Panhala Poetry

3 thoughts on ““I”

  1. jimrich

    LOL, psychology more than spirituality helped me see why some folks to avoid using the dreaded, shameful “I” word. Psychology speaks of this as a Shame-based condition in which the victim has a particularly painful or shameful attitude towards them self – usually put there by Shame-based parents. Using the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and other sages, it becomes clear that there are (at least) 2 ‘Is’ – an egoic, personal “I” and the infinite, supreme, boundless, etc. “I” or Self. Even psychology now refers to the personal, egoic ‘I’/self and the impersonal, infinite ‘I’ or Self (pure awareness). So, when I use the word ‘I’, it’s important for me to know which one I am referring to and when another person uses their ‘I’, I consider which one they are referring to. Usually it’s the personal ‘I’. Either way, common sense in language and communication is the whole point and it seems silly when a person cannot or will not use the dreaded ‘I’ word and many so-called spiritual (shame-based) folks cling to the idea that the ‘I’/me terminology is taboo. I see them as victims of deep SHAME!


  2. Tim Smith

    Two excellent and thoughtful posts. To the last point about people avoiding the “I” word, it is (to me) a misguided attempt at upping spirituality, but one that is grounded in resistance. The more one focuses on NOT having or displaying ego, by Law of Attraction, the more one is pulled into the very thing he/she is resisting.

    Said another way, the more we resist ego/self identity, the more present it becomes.

    Give it up. Surrender and turn the other cheek. We cannot make ego go away, since it is the very vehicle we use to navigate the physical world that our spiritual selves are visiting.

    When we embrace “I” and re-frame our identify (as you have done so beautifully in your post), we stop fighting our very nature and begin to access greater power. It is about increasing understanding of ourselves–not squashing an integral part of who we are.


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