I’m not the doer

A while ago, I was inquiring into the aggregates of the little ‘me’, this separate entity, which is a sticky illusion.

And one thing I was stuck with was the sense of being the author of an action. I know I am awareness, and the body-mind arises in awareness (and not the other way round) – and yet there is this sense that this body-mind can choose to do an action. I was reading Consciousness Speaks by Ramesh Balsekar, and he repeats over and over that we are not the ‘doer’ of an action but that the action happens through us.

Theoretically, I understood that, but I longed for an experience that would make it clear to me.

Now, imagine Source smiling behind the curtain, thinking, ‘Let’s have some fun with her and teach her this lesson.’

On the next weekend, I went for a short walk to the woods. The rest of my family stayed inside. I left the house, shut the door, and walked 20 minutes to a bench. I sat down, relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of the hillside and the trees. After a while, I decided to get up and go back home.

All of a sudden, I realized I didn’t have my waist pack with me (which I usually use for keys, money, etc).

OMG! Panic. My mind started racing. The keys, credit cards, driver’s license… I went back to the bench. No waist pack there. Then, I started running back home. Was it lost along the way?

After a few minutes, my mind calmed down. No way, I could have lost the waist pack. I would have noticed that. I probably had forgotten to take it with me in the first place.

I arrived at home , my children opened the door and the waist pack and keys were safely at home.

What a relief!

What did I learn from that?

I have never forgotten my keys before. I used to assume that this is due to the fact I am a well-organized person and in control of my actions.

Ha! How wrong! I am not in control.

That lesson proved to me that the thought ‘Now take the waist pack with me before I go out’ is put into my mind from outside. That means this body-mind is not the author of the action.

How humbling for my ego to realize that the body-mind is on remote control!

I’m always fascinated to see how the universe acts as a teacher and how requests for lessons are answered in a gentle but powerful way.

26 thoughts on “I’m not the doer

  1. This post was pretty deep!

    I tend to think as the body-mind going into “auto-pilot mode” 99% of the time. If we consider a human to be a machine, we could say that the body-mind is the mechanical machine (where the brain is the CPU), the soul (the will) is the operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, etc.), and the spirit (conscious awareness) is the user.

    I also think that the body-mind is a learning machine. It learns habits. For example, as I am typing this right now, I am not consciously employing my spirit awareness to type each individual letter. The body-mind does that!

    Regarding choices, I wonder if they are real or not sometimes… (hence the 99% hehe) By default, every single action the body-mind does is based on the soul’s desires. For example, every morning I shower with warm water. Clearly, I have a “choice” to shower with cold or warm water but if I consider that I always do what the soul finds desirable (warm water is more pleasurable than cold) then I am technically not making any choices. I mean, I like what I like… and I can’t like something I don’t. I could lie to myself and say that I love cold showers, but the truth will remain. I think we’re programmed to do what we are meant to do by the soul (will).

    This is where the 1% comes in. A choice appears when the spirit become conscious of a choice. I could, after all, shower tomorrow with cold water despite my soul not liking it. This reminds me a little of the famous quantum phenomena of refraction where a photons behave like a waves but when they are observed, they become particles. When the spirit observes the choice, the choice becomes real. Otherwise, choices exist everywhere like waves!

    But, I am not 100% sure on this because I could, after all, take a cold shower over my desire to prove my spirit wrong… hehehe What a predicament!

    Anyways, if you’re ever interested, I kindly invite you to check out my Amazon ebook called Life’s Little Big-Intricacies. I think you might like it. Of course, we all have our convictions, but it might shed a little light on your spiritual progress.

    Best regards!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your long response, eM. I like the computer analogy. I have a similar picture in mind. I like to think of the belief system as operating system. An upgrade in the belief system can get us a ton of new features.
      I agree with you on habits and autopilot. Most of the time things go automatically, like on autopilot.
      And then there is still the feeling of choice. For me, too. Even after I have been shown that the thoughts are not authored or created by me. Rather, they are received.
      From what I have read, the further we progress on the spiritual path, the less there is the feeling of choice. Things become more like happening automatically, with no pondering or weighing outcomes. Intuition nudges , the nudge is received clearly and is obeyed. No more questioning, pondering, procrastinating.
      Thanks for mentioning your book. I’ll have a look at it.
      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. great write Karen. I was discussing this very thing with a group of people an Headlessness.org this morning. It is such an irony that we think we do things when in reality we do nothing, But we have no choice going about our business making decisions etc.

    I was thinking about this yesterday as well, while taking a dog walk…

    I was walking in the woods watching my dog when I found myself dodging a branch that almost hit my head. I know 100% I did not make a conscious decision to move by body to avoid the branch.

    Some may say “well the body has its own intelligence to avoid the branch.” And I say exactly , everything is like that LOL. we are life itself, not the “me” doing anything. life is doing it all.

    Great post Karen!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear that this subject resonates with you.
      I’m coming to see more and more that many situations are like that. And yet, there is still choice coming up.
      This choice and free will topic is a hit topic among seekers.
      I think of it like this :
      Imagine a giant octopus with thousands of arms. This is invisible Source.
      On top of each arm, there is a puppet. But in the beginning of the journey, the puppet is not directly on top of the arm but connected wit a string with much slack.
      The puppet is the bodymind.
      The slack of the line is the belief in separation and the degree of free will that can be exercised. That is ego. The willfulness.

      If the spiritual journey continues, the belief in separation falls away and the strings get shorter and shorter. Free will can be exercised less and less, or if it is exercised it becomes a painful experience. Free will is if God says, Turn right, and I say, No, I rather turn left.

      In the end , the strings have no slack at all, and the only will there is is the will of Source.
      (Credit for the string model with more or less slack go to the Raj material by Paul Tuttle from nwffacim.org)

      Bernadette Roberts wrote something like this:
      After the sense of self falls away, decision making becomes like walking on a beam of wood. There is only one way to stay on the beam. Any step to the side, and one falls off.


      1. Karin, I dont know why I spelled your name wrong. I have another friend through headlessness.org named Karen with an E. my apologies. please edit if you can and even delete this message too :-) btw, your are amazing!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Karin,
    i always enjoy your stories and how they often drive home a point. I have been thinking a lot lately about where is the source of my thoughts. I do know if they are negative then they are not intuition and if they bring me information that is new to me, they are not “from me”, but who is the me anyway? I do not have a clear answer, but I would say that the heart is a more likely candidate than the brain.

    I am not sure why you say that it is not you who decides to take your pack with you when you leave your house. Can you elaborate? I want to have a better understanding of your premise.

    hugs, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for you comment, Linda. I am glad to hear that the stories resonate with you.
      Who am I? Or what is ‘I’?
      This question is at the core of the spiritual journey. It is here where all the spiritual paths converge, the direct ones as well as the ones with many detours.
      There are two things to consider. One is the body-mind. The other one is the single consciousness which transcends all and is the substitute of all.
      I , if I think I am the body-mind, have not made the decision to take the waist pack with me or to not take it with me since the thought to remember the keys is put into my head from consciousness, or in the story it was not put into my mind. Therefore, the body-mind cannot claim to be author of the decision since it was not author of the thought. Does that make it clearer?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It makes it a bit clearer. Still trying to distinguish which info comes to me from Source and which doesn’t, but may let this all go as it may not really matter. What does matter is loving ourselves and not beating up ourselves or others with judgments, negativity, etc

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Discerning which thoughts come from ego and which from Source is difficult. I agree. I find it important to be able to do that, but I find it also a challenge.
          For some thoughts or emotions it is obvious, like judgment and negativity. For others, it is more difficult. Because the ego can come as wolf in sheep’s clothing. So, something which we think is loving behavior could well stem from fear.

          As a rule of thumb, though, I would say that whenever we are in a state of inner peace, then that which comes through is from Source. Whereas when we are in fear , then it is difficult to access the inner guidance.

          Therefore, I wish you peace,
          PS If you want to talk more, feel free to email me.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful example of why it is so important to experience those matters we read about in philosophy, and in so doing the knowledge gleaned embeds deeply ‘within our bones’ so to speak, rather than remaining an abstraction. Book knowledge, or hand-me-down knowledge, is very useful, yet without direct experience remains somewhat superficial nonetheless. This seems particularly true when we go into ontology/epistemology, and certainly when we explore any soteriological matters – things like Buddha Dhamma, Advaita and so on.

    The matter of Free Will is highly contentious of course Karin, and we need to clarify whether we are talking about volition and choice as consciously derived acts, or not. Benjamin Libet was the first to prove that actions initiate below the threshold of consciousness, and that when the moment arrives when we become aware of acting/choosing then those same phenomena have already been initiated prior to our awareness of them. We believe that we act and choose consciously because the mind is both aware of an array of alternatives and that one has been selected. Still, this apparent choice was not made by discrete and autonomous thought processes as agents for that choice; that is purely an afterthought which is erroneously believed to be acting with such agency. In fact, the limbic system is largely responsible for having made the choice, or initiated the action; in other words the nervous system ‘feels’ its way to the apparent choice and the reasoning mind then erroneously attributes the same to itself as agent. However, from a philosophical perspective, one can still argue that Free Will was exercised once we take the mind and body to be a unified, integrated system and do not insist upon the Will as being a consciously exercised phenomenon.

    Many thanks Karin,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful comment, Hariod.
      Yes, I also think experience matters a lot.

      Thanks for citing the experiments about free will and the limbic system. That is really interesting. Then it is the limbic system which makes the choice by an assessment whether a situation is dangerous or not, for example.

      I am aware that the discussion of free will is a hot topic among seekers. I think of this as follows:
      There is the will of Source and on the other hand there is the will of the individual who thinks he is separate. As long as there is the sense of being a separate self, there is also the sense of free will. But when that sense of a separate self drops away, then there is only one will, and that is the will of Source.
      I often think of a story I have read:
      A woman was driving her car, when her inner voice told her to turn left and make a detour because there would be an accident ahead. She heard this intuition clearly, and she dismissed it and drove straight forward. And she had to wait because the road was closed because of the accident. Afterwards, she was determined to honor her intuition more.

      In this story, choice and free will seemingly exist.

      If the choice is made by the limbic system, then the spiritual path would be about training the limbic system. In the beginning, the limbic system operates on the basis of fearful beliefs and makes choices based on that fear mode. And after some years of spiritual experiences, the limbic system has learned that the world is not a hostile place and that it is not necessary to be in constant fight or flight mode.

      Thanks again for your contribution here.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. When I turn the focus of attention 180 degrees backwards, away from the manifest world and away from all thoughts and emotions, then I am staring directly into it. Staring directly into the void. The void which cannot be described with words , because words are made for the 3d realm.

          That is Source.

          Now, I can just describe how I experience this place of the void.

          It is not just awareness or the witness. But it is also creative potential. It is the place from which thoughts and desires emerge. It is the place which puts the thought in my mind that it would be really useful to have a heavy duty trash bag for storing the broken toys of my kids. And it is the power which takes care of the fulfillment of that wish by orchestrating a very unlikely series of events which end up sending a heavy duty drawstring trash bag to my garden door two days later. See post Magic wand of inner peace for details of that story.

          It is the place from which the desire emerges to meet a certain person, and it is the place which orchestrates events so that I will meet that person, under the most unlikely circumstances.

          It is the orchestrating intelligence behind the scenes.

          It is single. Like a single invisible guiding hand.
          It is like a giant invisible octopus with thousands of arms. Like a giant puppeteer , with a puppet on each arm. We think we are the puppets in the 3d realm. Seemingly separate. But we are not separate.

          It is still,but at the same time always pouring forth, like a fountain.
          Always expressing, creating, giving. It that place which insisted that I started this blog, even though I was digging my heels because of fear.

          It is joyful and peaceful. The peace has a magnetic pull to it.

          Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rant.

          Now, I wonder how you would describe Source.


          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you for your beautiful description Karin, which was a delight to read. I rather warm to the idea of an orchestrating intelligence, as if there were some divine teleological aspect to all this chance and necessity. Sometimes it does feel like that to me, and so much seems to occur as if it were the case, which I am not denying it may be. In my limited experience however, there has never been sufficient evidence to suggest that there is any such orchestrating intelligence operating behind the scenes, as it were. This could simply be because it has been too frequently occluded by thought; I do not know.

            “Now, I wonder how you would describe Source.”

            If I were somebody who thought it best to convey the impression that they had no idea, then I would probably choose to respond by saying nothing Karin – didn’t someone once describe that as maintaining the Noble Silence? On the other hand, if I were somebody who wanted to convey the impression that they had some idea borne of experience, then I perhaps would make mention of the Tabula Rasa of awareness, defining it as a state of pure potential which appears prior to the mind constructs of subject and object. However, being as I am in truth a nobody, then I have no idea how most correctly to answer your question.

            Enigmatically and with metta,


            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your perspective.

              I always wonder why some people experience many synchronicities and others don’t. For me, these weird unlikely coincidences became much more frequent and noticeable after I had read many accounts of near death experiences. That shook my world view so much that the outer world started to behave differently afterwards. I am not sure whether that is the reason, but this is my interpretation.

              With best wishes for a miraculous next week,

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Karin,

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post on a subject that is indeed at the core of the “seeker’s” journey. I tend to think of this in slightly different terms, though I think the end result is the same, and I would first like to say how much I enjoyed the metaphor of the octopus and puppets with slack in the ropes, etc.

    There is a place where the sensation of choice that we tend to associate with the “ego”– as if there is an agency making the decisions and that is “me”– is often evaluated in terms of right and wrong. In your stories, and in the analogy of the octopus, the idea often being conveyed is that the false concept of “freedom” involves doing something other than Source would prefer to orchestrate. It is almost as if we’re saying the sensation of free will is an acting out, like a child who knows what he or she is doing is wrong, but is momentarily enamored with the sensation of “power” and “freedom” that come from doing it anyway. I say all of this only to suggest that it is not the case necessarily that any given action is in greater or lesser alignment with Source, but that the experience of separation is itself the source of pain, guilt, doubt, uncertainty, etc. And this deeply held sensation of separateness colors our every experience. It leads to the question of whether we are making the “right” choice or not, but this is a red herring– a poorly phrased question– because how could there be “right” choices? We could certainly make all sorts of arguments about circumstances where one choice is clearly preferable in some sort of cosmic or ethical perspective, but I’m simply saying the experience of separation clouds our experiencing of the entire sequence.

    In unity, there is no longer any basis whatsoever for judging whether a movement is right or wrong, or could have or should have been done differently or not. Certainly not within the context of our making a decision that was out of accord with Source. It is simply not a question. Thus the experience does not arise that one is making these “important” decisions, because one is simply being who they feel to be, and these feelings and thoughts that are expressed indeed seem to arise from “somewhere else”, with the grace of given miracles… But that could have been the case all along… I think the experience of separation overlays what is really happening with a distorted lens so we cannot make sense of it. I also think that even in unity, there is choice… It is not the choice of an individual, but it is the inexplicable desire of Creation to create… It is not a desire apart from us, but not our desire as “little” agents alone. It is both the desire to be who we are, and the desire to produce universes. These are wholly reconciled and seamless… But, Creation creates. This is not a choice perhaps, like a fork in the road, but it is a choice to express… That one choice: to give and to love and to express, is perhaps the one choice there ever was.

    And it has already been made… :)

    Much Love

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment and for offering your perspective here, Michael.
      I agree that the experience of separation is the root cause of all the problems, like doubt, uncertainty, fear.
      I also agree that decisions need not be labeled right or wrong. I would say that there are some faster routes towards home vs some detour routes.
      On an absolute level, we all are consciousness, and no matter what we decide, we will always be consciousness. That means we are always home – even though we might not know it.

      On a relative level, when it comes to everyday life decisions, my experience is that there is an inner voice or intuition or nudge. And this can be heard more clearly if I am at peace. And this intuition points me into a certain direction. I am free to follow it or not. Depending on whether I follow it, the outcome is different.

      Before I started this blog, the alternative was to write or to become sick.
      I chose to write.
      I could have chosen not to write and to become sick.
      Neither choice is right or wrong. It is just a choice with a different outcome.

      In unity, if there is no more fear, the actions are directed by Source. But until that point is reached, there is the choice between love and fear. At least that is how I experience it.

      Thanks fot taking the time to comment. The discussions with you are always food for thought.


      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Karin,

        I understand what you are saying here. I felt an interesting insight in reading what you’ve written here, which is that love vs fear can in some ways be felt as the choice to express who we are vs the choice to withhold or withdraw (through fear) and be something more “lifeless”. This is suggesting to me that as we experience Love, we return to the natural desire to share or to give of ourselves, and that this is life. Like I was writing above, perhaps the only fundamental decision is the one to create, or to return to Love, where the experience of being whole is then felt as the natural movement of our lives. I think what we are saying is very similar, maybe with different words or slightly different perspectives from where each of our lives is at right now…

        I’m glad you chose to write instead of becoming sick!


        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks for your reply. I also think we are similar in our understanding, but different in the expression and different in our experience.
          Yes, the only fundamental decision is to return to Love and to create from there.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. It is very easy and at the same time so c omplicating when thought of ´I do´ is believed in . The best way when I see that I am not the doer of actions is when I relax totally. Seeking happens by itself. Typing, picking up a cup, turnin gon tv, whatsapping, taking your daughter to school happens all by itself without you doing it. Thi sis what it means. THen comes the thought ´I did it`. This too if observed carefully is happening by itself. Free will is happening by itself. Funnyt hey. You are not in control whether you seek or not. It is impersonal. NO one is seeking and no one gets it. YOu can´t find yourself responsable for watching mooji and having done self inquiry for years, even meditation. Once glimpsed this..even for 1 sec, it is irrefutable proof. Then I will believe in control again and the glipmse is gone. this is the game of pivoting.

    Liked by 1 person

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