Ever notice how upset some people get when they hear, “There is no you; there is no self?”
Yes those are fighting words to a whole lot of folks. Maybe you’re even one of them.
If so, the Mind-Tickler offers apologies right now for the unintentional rise in blood pressure that could be about to follow.
Because suggest, “There is no self,” and people start saying things like, “Oh yeah, smarty pants? Well, go stand in front of a bus and see what happens to your no-self then!”
Or they start talking in indignant tones about their “personal experience”.
As if personal experience ever proves truth. As if how we experience things, how we think about things, could never just be…
some wildly skewed point of view.
Yes, tell people they’re separate individuals and everyone nods with satisfaction. Say, “You’re not what you think you are,” and grrrr.
Which is mighty weird if you think about it.
Because setting aside for a moment all the opinions about right, wrong, and what is or isn’t true…
What exactly is so upsetting about this kind of statement? What in the words, “There is no self,” warrants anger, un-friending, blocking, and mockery?
I mean if one is so sure there’s a self, why get all riled if someone says otherwise? True is true, right? Who cares if others know it?
It’s enough to make a curious person wonder…
What is alarmed by this “no separate self” observation?
What insists, “No no no! There most definitely is a self and it’s right here. Shut up!”
Mighty prickly and easily threatened, that sense-of-self thingy.
It’s funny too, because... is life better with the story, “I am me, a separate individual?"
Is that peaceful?
Oh hell no.
Individual selves suffer. Individual selves are lonely, dissatisfied, incomplete and inadequate. Individual selves come with the need to fix flaws, de-tress, get other selves to love and approval of them, and get enlightened.
(Never mind that nothing that’s already light has any need of enlightenment.)
Who in their right mind would fight so hard to keep all that?
Meanwhile, just for something different, we might feel into the possibility of “no self” for a moment and just explore –
Whatever “no-self” is… does it get angry? Need protecting? Lack love? Care about if it’s seen or known or understood?
Much lighter, that. Freer, calmer, diffuse, clear.
Why not choose that, if only for the peace in it? Rather than fighting so hard for something that feels so bad?
And then for fun, we might also see if we can point to what needs to jump in so quickly to protect this precious story of self.
Literally- point to it.
See if we can find what real thing is afraid of any oncoming bus or opinions or words or nothingness.
See if the body- arms, legs, skin, heart, brain matter- cares at all about words, let alone ones that say, "There is no self."
I mean, given all the absolute certainty, shouldn't this be very easy to point to and locate?
So that if we don't find the self, perhaps we can at least open to the possibility that it isn't there.
Which just might leave us with the relief of nothing to do and nothing to fix.
And if we do somehow find that fragile little thing…
Perhaps, just for sanity, we can set it aside for a while.
Not because there’s anything wrong with it.
But because it hurts.
And maybe, just maybe…
After years, decades, millennia...
We’ve had enough of that.
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