"I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
–T S Elliot
“The fear of no-self is the mother of all fears, the one upon which all others are based. No fear is so small or petty that the fear of no-self isn't at its heart.
All fear is ultimately fear of no-self."
"There is no oasis situated yonder; you are stuck with the mirage."
So, this week’s Mind-Tickler started out like so many previous ones, using everyday language and everyday examples to reveal, for the millionth time, that you don’t exist.
Yep, that again.*
This one started out using examples of my friend who never goes out and who cancels every hopeful plan to do so, and my other friend who goes out but spends hours getting ready and then needs days after to recover, and my other friend the social butterfly who always has plans and constantly invites international buddies to stay at her place for weeks on end.
Examples of what we call “introverted and extroverted,” in yet another weekly attempt to help you see that everything is all really about the protection of the sense of self.
The self that doesn’t exist. The self that can’t be found.
And then I got tired, and cut out all the blahdeeblah and cut right to the chase. Again. **
Because as I’ve said so often before, in so many ways with so many everyday life examples, there is no you, there is no self, there is no mind, there is no ego, there is no personality, there is no insert-your-name-here.
I know, I’m sorry, I really am. But there is none.
Ok but why, friendly Mind-Tickler, does everything keep coming back to this, over and over and over?
Because it’s the prime directive. Because it drives every experience you have.
Because every situation in every life boils down to, You are not what you think you are.
And yes, I know, you’re “right here,” pointing vaguely in the direction of a clavicle. And yes, I know there’s a strong sense of you.
Got it. So what?
As if that “sense,” which comes with the obligatory announcement, But I feel it!- proves anything.
Because what the hell is “a sense” anyway?
More nothing, that’s what.
And the thing is, when you focus on what you sense or think or see- when you focus on what you experience- as the way of proving that you are indeed right here, your ability to be clear is instantly skewed and off.
Because focusing on what you sense inserts you, solidifies you, reifies you, as The One Things Happen To.
That “Sense” creates you as a person.
Not the other way around.
So maybe you can imagine what pretending you’re something when actually you’re nothing, might feel like.
What does it feel like being a unicorn and living your whole life terrified to find out you’re made up?
Imagine being in constant fear of having this charade be seen and exposed.
In everyday human life, this might look like caring what others think about you, spending hours planning wardrobes, working extra hard so the boss or social media thinks you’re great, trying to look nonchalant and say the right thing in social situations, or staying in and not going out at all.
All in an attempt to control what others see and think. About you.
Because the image, the facade, the presentation, must be controlled. Others must not see the wispy nothing you know you are.
As if those scary, dangerous and able-to-see-ghost-you others are any more real than you.
Welcome to human, unicorn.
The self has only one job. Pretend this is real. Don’t let on.
The constant fear of exposure drives everything.
Turns out, that background hum of, Something isn’t right, which so many folks feel, is correct.
Luckily, as usual, none of this matters. Everyday life goes on.
So forget that “strong sense” of being you for just a minute. It may be there but it simply doesn’t matter.
Instead, maybe you could try on being the things that are happening, as opposed to The One Who feels them or The One Who is aware of them.
You don't have to believe this to try it on.
Maybe what you are is every word, every thought, every feeling, every memory, every story, every color, every sound.
Being all that. Non-stop fluid, changeable, infinitely varied. Unable to be held and kept.
Being the happenings.
Not the happening-to.
What then? What would that be…
Hey, where’d you go?
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"How do we know we're not people in a movie?' she asked.
I looked at her not knowing how to reply.
"Mama, how do we know that things are real?"
Great. Now we have a junior existentialist in the house.
Well, we don't know. We just have to hope that what we think is real is real.
"But how do we know?' she asked, insistently.
Ah, a scientist, who wants empirical evidence.
We don't know. We just have to hope.
"Mama, how do we know things aren't a dream? You know, how sometimes life feels like a dream? Do you ever feel that way?"
Yes, sweetie, I feel that way all the time.
“What you are basically, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. And you’re ALL that, only you’re pretending you’re not.”