Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 Lessons from the Road to No Self

And they said the path was pathless?  Here are those I'd consider the top five of the thousands of self (less) lessons learned from this three year "trip". 

Number 1.  Yes, Virginia, there is no self.

There.  I said it.  Lots of folks have the idea that it's wrong to say "There's no you!", but I disagree.  It's not wrong.  It's exactly right, depending.  I've noticed that it's always people who have already seen through the separate self who tend to denounce that phrase.  I'd ask them to just remember, there are those who have not traversed the same path and may need to read or hear something which shakes up the paradigm.  Remember the Bahiya Sutta?  It's brilliant.  Why?  It's the same as saying, "There's No You!".   Just read it:

There is thinking, no thinker
There is hearing, no hearer
There is seeing, no seer

In thinking, just thoughts

In hearing, just sounds
In seeing, just forms, shapes and colors.

Paradigm-shaking?  It's what opened my eyes to a new way of seeing.  Had it not been framed in such a startling way, I may have missed... well... Everything.

Number 2.  But also, Virginia, there IS a self

It's just that it's not what I was taught.  The self is literally what "I" think it is, but that's all that it is.  It has or owns no history, no future.  It can't.  Impossible.  But thoughts make it seem so, moment by moment.  The sense of a me feels like a me and will continue to feel like a me.  But it's just feeling without a me feeling.

Buses and trains will still hurt.  So do my toes when hitting up against coffee tables.

Number 3.  If you're trying to make the self disappear, it won't.

Looking for a state of persistent No Self (complete with capital letters) isn't going to work because it's the very supposed self that's looking for it.  Moments of nondual seeing come through grace.  Yes, grace may be preceded by practice or inquiry, but just when there's no me looking... BAM.  And, well, that's the only way this can happen, isn't it.  Grace.

Number 4.  Big Self is not the same as No(t) self

The reason why looking for the core self and clearly seeing that it is not found is important is because the sense of self is an unimaginably persistent thought.  It colors everything, including awakening.  So you can bet that it's really easy to jump right into Big Self because it just feels so good.  It's heady.  But what about that small self?  It's a good idea to see whether it's been seen through completely, or just merged into a Big Self.  How will I know the difference?  Well, if I feel big, wide, or enlarged somehow... it's still a me feeling it.  If there is just everything.... limitless everything without a me in the mental picture, then we're really onto something.

Number 5.  There is just one Enlightenment SuperPower

Once seeing the ego's bag of tricks, the only superpower I found is that I can understand human emotions and dynamics in ways I'd never dreamed.  Without a separate me, it's much easier to see the trajectory of human interactions on scales both large and small.  The same dynamic happening on facebook posts is the one that goes to war.  Both could be diffused if everyone saw this.

Seeing and anticipating the trajectory means that sometimes I can appear to be wise. Don't be fooled.  It's not wisdom, it's just understanding.

I can see how anger is pain, how arrogance is pain, how judging others is pain, and how terrorism is pain.  I see what it is that is in pain, and how the only response left after seeing through all of this, is compassion.  It doesn't even have to be cultivated because it's a natural result.  Compassion has the effect of diffusing wars big and small, conflict, envy, jealousy, ill will, and a host of negative emotions.   And that, for all intents and purposes, is one hell of a superpower.  Too bad there's really no one to have or own it.

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thanks for the thoughts...