No self, self, and Self

 

Some in the non-dual world talk about no self, conventionally we say we have or are a self, and some even talk about Self with capital S.

What if there is some validity to each of these?

Human self. There is certainly a human self in a conventional sense. A self made up of this body, sensations, thoughts, senses, behavior and so on.

No self. There is “no self” in a few different ways. All is a seamless whole, all is the divine, all is consciousness, and we are that, so there is no separate self within this. There is no independently existing separate self. Although there certainly seems to be when there is identification with and as that self. The self from above appears as a separate self, and what we are, when there is identification with and as it.

Self. And there is a Self with capital S. A Self that’s the divine, consciousness, love, Big Mind, what everything happens within and as.

The no self view can be understood from a systems view. Or as Carl Sagan said, “we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos….”, pointing to the wholeness of existence as our real or deeper identity.

And how do we taste it? We can taste it through various forms of inquiry such as the Big Mind process, Headless experiments, and sometimes Living Inquiries.

How do we invite identification to shift out of the self and into the Self? That’s perhaps most reliably done by examining the different identifications the mind has, allowing each one to soften and eventually release. We can do this from the consciousness side through inquiry (Living Inquiries, The Work), and it can also invite these to release from the energy side (Vortex Healing).

From a conventional view, we can see that a systems view is accurate. It’s all the universe or life exploring and expressing itself in all of these ways, including as selves taking themselves as separate selves. But it may seem a bit far-fetched for center of gravity to shift into this larger perspective. And yet, mystics from all traditions describe just that, sometimes as glimpses, and in other cases as a more stable shift in (or out of) identity.

When that happens, our human self is still here and it continues to operate more or less as before. But what we experience as our “real” self is all of existence, including the void it all happens within and as. A thought can describe it as consciousness, love, wisdom, appearing as all of existence, and that’s what we actually are.

So each of the three views has validity to them. There is a human self here. That’s not what we ultimately are. And what we are can be called Self with a capital S, as some traditions do.

And all of that are words with their inherent limitations. It will be misinterpreted, and that’s OK. Until this shift happens, and there is little or no need to talk about it. (Although we try anyway.)

……
……
……

No self?

Is a self
But not what we ultimately are
Not the final word on what we are

(self – as human, soul etc)

……

As Carl Sagan said, “And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos we’ve begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars, organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the cosmos.”

…..

And it’s pretty easy to have a taste of it, if we know how. For some, the Big Mind process is an effective way to have an actual taste or glimpse of this. For others, perhaps the Headless experiments. There are also other forms of inquiry that can give us a taste of it. (Some do it through psychoactive drugs, which I wouldn’t recommend.)

…..

Initial draft….

Some in the non-dual world talk about no self.

Is that accurate?

To me, it seems more accurate that there is a self, just at it seems from a conventional view. There is a human self with a body, emotions, thoughts, psychological ego, and so on.

But is that what we are? Not really. We are life temporarily identifying as this (temporary) self.

So there is a self, just as it appears to be for most people. And yet, that’s not what we really or ultimately are. We are life.

That’s pretty easy to grasp at a thought level. After all, all is life. So this is life thinking, feeling, sensing, doing, observing, living a life. As Carl Sagan said, “we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos….”.

And it’s pretty easy to have a taste of it, if we know how. We can have a glimpse or taste of it through the Big Mind process, headless experiments, or other forms of inquiry. Or different forms of meditation or yogic practices, although that can be a much longer process.

What do we notice through these glimpses? We notice that what we are is what everything happens within and as. We are what a thought could call awakeness, consciousness, Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman etc.

It can sound mystical or abstract, but it’s actually very familiar to us. It’s what we already are. It’s what’s already here. It’s what we already are most familiar with.

And it’s also possible to shift identification more stably into this. A key here is to explore what prevents it from happening, what draws mind into identification. That includes examining and inviting identifications and beliefs to fall away. And it includes healing of our human self (wounds tend to trigger re-identification).

Note: Of course, there is some validity to the “no self” view, as well as the “no self but what we really are is something else”. They just point to different aspects of it. And also, of course, we are this self although we are much more than that.

…..

Some in the non-dual world talk about no self.

And that’s valid in a few different ways. We can say that all is a seamless whole, or all is the divine, or all is consciousness, and that we are that, so there is no self in that there is no independently existing separate self. It needs to be qualified.

We can also say that there is a self, just at it seems from a conventional view. There is a human self with a body, emotions, thoughts, psychological ego, and so on. And we are that, in a conventional sense. As long as mind identifies as this human self, that’s what we seem to be.

In another sense, it’s not quite what we are. It’s not what we ultimately or really are. We are that which this self, and any experience, happens within and as.

So there is a self, just as it appears to be for most people. We can experience ourselves as that, and that experience seems real. And yet, that’s not what we really or ultimately are.

We can grasp this at a thought level. For instance, as Carl Sagan said, “we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos….”. We are life thinking, feeling, sensing, doing, and whatever else is happening here as part of this human self.

It’s also possible to have an actual taste of it. We can have a taste of it through the Big Mind process, headless experiments, or other forms of inquiry. We can also use different forms of meditation or yogic practices, although that can be a much longer process.

What do we notice through these glimpses? We notice that what we are is what everything happens within and as. We are what a thought could call awakeness, consciousness, Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman etc.

It can sound mystical or abstract, but it’s actually very familiar to us. It’s what we already are. It’s what’s already here. It’s what we already are most familiar with.

And it’s also possible to shift identification more stably into this. A key here is to explore what prevents it from happening, what draws mind into identification. That includes examining and inviting identifications and beliefs to fall away. And it includes healing of our human self (wounds tend to trigger re-identification).

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.