This small self is only a temporary pattern of matter, energy, emotions and thoughts. And these patterns are formed by biology, culture and personal experiences of this small self, and also from how I – as pure awareness – engage with them and/or allow them to unfold within me.
The small self and its patterns are part of the seamless whole of the world of phenomena. They are formed by the processes of this whole, and formed as a limited and fluid pattern of this whole. And these patterns respond to situations – internal and external to the small self – in habitual ways.
All this is well and good. It is what is necessary for the survival of life and this one species in general, and for this small self in particular. It is all part of what helps this small self survive and function in the larger world of phenomena.
Nothing in this small self is sentient in itself. It is just a temporary and fluid pattern in the world of phenomena, an incredibly complex and finetuned pattern in the tapestry.
And this small self functions as a vehicle for pure awareness into the world of phenomena. It allows pure awareness to experience itself as and in the world of phenomena, and the incredible richness that comes with it.
It is that which allows us as awareness to experience ourselves as the full holarchy of being: from ourselves as space & awareness and down through all the layers of the small self, and even as any and all phenomena arising in the present within this space & awareness.
It provides an incredible richness to Existence. It allows for evolution of the world of phenomena, and development of the small selves, always moving towards more complexity and richness. And always within the pure simplicity of that which is experiencing, this space and awareness distinct from the world of phenomena, and yet inseparate from whatever arises in the present.