There is a growing spiritual movement we might call the ‘I Am’ movement, particularly as some parts of the movement identifies itself as that very thing. It is a movement which, as far as I can trace it, begins in America with the I Am discourses ‘channelled’ by Godfre Ray King. Drawing from the Theosophical tradition and the works of Alice Bailey his books consist of channelled broadcasts by various Ascended Masters. This work was then continued by Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet who founded the Summit Lighthouse.
This particular emphasis on ‘I Am’ is also to be found among some in the Masonic tradition. It is possible that this is the origin of the phrase that King chose to use for his discourses. It is interesting that the phrase ‘I Am’, echoes the syllable of the Heart chakra in the Sanskrit and yogic tradition, of ‘Yam’. But there is a great difference between ‘I Am’ and ‘Yam’, and it is this.
The sound ‘aah’ moves, from a central source, spherically out to the edges of infinity. In contrast to this the sound ‘i’- pronounced ‘ee’ – is vertical, reaching upwards. Some might argue that the ‘ee’ sound holds a very high position above the head. However in the diphthong sound that comprises the ‘I’ of ‘I Am’ it is an actual motion from the expanding sphere of ‘aa’ to the sustained high situation of the ‘ee’. This has an effect of contracting the expansion of the ‘aa’ into the vertical of ‘ee’. In short it emphasises the significance of the personal, drawing the expanding reality of the spherical ‘aa’, that is to say all of Creation (c.f. A-U-M), into the particular of the self-identity with the upper sound.
Let us explore this idea more fully. There is a single Source of Creation, commonly represented graphically as a point or as a circle. It is found as the circular form of the Sun in many traditions, since this is indeed the source of Life on our planet. A common symbol for the Sun is a circle with a point at the centre of it. As is apparent from this image, an infinite number of straight lines can pass through a single point. This is important for that ‘ee’ sound represents our personal connection, our link, with the Source of Creation. It is unique to us, and not shared with any other. In this way the diphthong sound ‘aa-ee’ emphasises the personal. It reinforces the ego.
With the statement ‘I Am’, we are demanding our right to personal experience. But we are also imposing our interpretation and our Will upon the surroundings. This is very aggressive, it does not allow for the existence of the other. We withdraw the entirety of Creation into ourselves, including any audience or fellow we may share the situation with.
This is a very different approach to the ‘yam’ of the heart chakra. While ‘I Am’ appears to include the ‘yam’ (pronounced y-aa-m) it is suppressed in that statement, since the ‘aa’ preceding it declares Creation to have its origins here in the personal centre of the individual making the declaration.
In contrast to this the ‘ee’ at the beginning of ‘yam’ starts, not in the body of the individual pronouncing it, but in the Source of Creation itself. From this vantage point the sound swoops down into the heart of the one uttering the syllable, thereby reinforcing Creation operating through the heart, rather than declaring the source of Creation – and therefore the only acceptable relation to it – to be ‘mine’. It should be noted that all of nature begins its observations and interactions with the rest of Creation from the heart. the heart is the seat of Consciousness in all things. It is only in the human realm, on the planet at this time, that there is any divergence from this. Even so, not all of humanity holds this ‘other’ perspective, as a being separate from the whole. Fortunately – for the rest of nature as well as for ourselves – this situation is changing as the Earth undergoes her awakening and humanity is carried along with it.
There is a further point here and that is the use of the two syllables, ‘I Am’ and ‘yam’, as mantras. By repeating ‘I Am’ we discover it to be an illusion very quickly since it resolves into Maya, and from here into Yama – death. Thereby declaring that ‘I’ is the way to death, since it is essentially the way of denial, and indeed that death itself is an illusion. ‘I’ is opposed to ‘other’. By contrast ‘yam’ repeated yields a new beginning at each turn. It is a constant reinforcement of the existence of the individual, not in denial of any other but as a simple affirmation of that as a valid source within Creation.
We can consider regimes which held the personal to be the ultimate, such regimes as the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler, in which the declaration was of a ‘superior race’. It will be recalled that it was on the strength of the Masonic lodges and the imposed threat of death from oath-breaking or disobedience, that Hitler rose to power in the first place. This is not to suggest that all Masons are fascists or Nazis, far from it. Many are honest, hard-working, socially minded individuals with a clear vision of the world and their place within it. It is merely to point out that we live in a world of duality and if we are not careful a single choice can send us reeling down the wrong path, towards death and our own destruction. It is never that ‘I Am God’ but ever that ‘God is me’.