A member of the 2012 Scenario discussion group asked for an explanation of “I AM” in simple language. Perhaps he would permit me to reproduce the discussion here for its possible value.
The difficulty in putting “I AM” in everyday language is that what’s being referred to is a mystery so elevated that there probably isn’t any language at all that can convey it, simple or complex.
Language itself is based on an act of freely and arbitrarily bestowing meaning upon a word-symbol. I see before me this organism which has roots, a trunk, branches and leaves and I say I’m going to call this a “tree.” But the next person says “Non, non, c’est an arbre.”
Tree? Arbre? Who says one is correct and the other is not? The naming is free and arbitrary. One word wins acceptance among a group; another may not. That’s all that determines why one continues to be used and another may fall into disuse.
But there already has to be an organism with roots, a trunk, etc., before me before I create a word for it. And all description of it proceeds in a metaphorical way. That is,it takes something existing and unknown and uses something existing and known to know the unknown. But God, the I AM, cannot be said to be existing in the way we understand “existing.” And it can never be known in the way we understand “knowing.”
For an example, take “the Light of God is brighter than a thousand suns.” We imagine what a thousand suns look like and then say we know what the Light of God looks like. But of course our knowing is very approximate and may not, in the end, be adequate at all. It’s just often the only avenue open to us.
In the case of “I AM,” someone has felt the need to point to that which precedes everything created. That which is being pointed to has no form. It’s in no ordinary way sensible. It cannot be “known” under any conventional circumstances or in any conventional way. It is the greatest mystery that will ever confront us (if there even is an “us”).
And they’ve chosen a symbol for it: “I AM.” Others might call it God, or Father/Mother One, or the Source.
The thing being pointed at (which is not a thing) is not known by repeating the symbol attached to it: I AM.
The symbol used to represent it does not yield its meaning by dissecting the symbol itself.
The whole business of discussing it, which is something only beings of a certain level of consciousness can do in the first place – beings who use symbols – does not in and of itself yield knowledge of it.
So everything connected with knowing what the “I AM” is in simple language comes crashing up against all these difficulties.
However, as long as you allow for them, then in the simplest language I can find, the “I AM” is the one subject of all experience, the One who plays all parts, the One who created all this, allows it to persist for a time, and then plunges it back again into formlessness.
The “I AM” is the One before which there is no other, no second. There is only the One playing all the parts, inhabiting all the forms, providing the substance from which all the forms are created, etc.
The “I AM” is the essence of everything, that which observes all thoughts and deeds and experiences all experiences, and that which all life tends towards in its evolution and returns to in its absolute end.
That is the very simplest way I can convey the matter. The effort to convey it, to capture it, is doomed to failure. The most we can hope for is to fail better each time we attempt the task, to inspire ourselves and others more with each failure, because it always remains our task, failure after failure, to continue on towards the realization of That.
That goal of realizing It remains our purpose or mission, lifetime after lifetime in matter – and even beyond. It never ceases to be the goal of all our lives, even though we’re doomed to fail in it (almost) every time.