“No Self, No Problem” Anam Thubten

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“As human beings we are deeply insecure and we do not know who we truly are. Of course this problem does not show on the surface of our lives. We are always telling ourselves who we are, based on this notion that we are separate from everything else. This sense that “I am separate” is the ground of our sense of self. It is reinforced by various false identities that we cling to, notions that “I am this” or “I am that.” Whatever beliefs we have about ourselves are just another extension. Most of the time when we look around, we immediately see that our surroundings are validating these false identities. For this very reason, it is a challenging endeavor to deconstruct this illusion of self. Every time we look into our mirror we might have some thought about ourselves. Each of these thoughts adds up. They become the conceptual bricks we use to keep building this illusory castle of self. Yet, there is a suspicion that this notion of self might be very fragile and transient, and this thought is silently lurking somewhere in our consciousness. Most of the time this suspicion is not brought into the light of awareness, but if it is, some deep, inner wisdom will arise without choice. Our suspicion of the fragility of this false notion of self can go in one of two directions. In general it becomes a source of fear, anxiety, and insecurity. We often see people who are fearful and overly defensive when it comes to their own identity. We ourselves tend to become fearful if our identity is threatened. But at other times the suspicion can go another way. When that happens, it can be a life-changing revelation that can lead us to the realization of the highest level of truth. This idea is not some new, lofty theory. It is timeless wisdom that has been realized by many people in human history. Buddha taught this wisdom, and in his tradition it is called anatman, or “no self.” Anatman, or “no self,” is the term used to mean that one has seen through this false sense of self. One has seen that this false sense of self is merely an identification with one’s roles in life. It is just a mask, not the truth.”

Selves

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So I finished reading Waking Up, by Sam Harris. Would reccommend it, it’s less a pure “spirituality without religion” manual as perhaps a way to lure pure, innocent atheists into looking at secularized Buddhism.

Which means it ended up being more up my alley than I was anticipating.

The book mentions that the first part of of our brain that becomes “conscious” is the right side of our brain, which is non-verbal. The left, language-baring part of our brain activates later and eventually dominates the other part of our brain…

so essentially, what could be our actual self is eventually shoved into a corner and falsely replaced by a chatty asshole that feels the need to endlessly describe and create a false storyline for everything that occurs. Ever.

Huh.

Relatedly, I have found out that I yell at myself just as angrily for forgetting to check the mail when I’m doing my laundry as I used to about getting high and completely screwing up my life. Then I start laughing and feel insane.

Hahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Otherwise I’ve still been trying to figure out the buddhist soul thing, and keep feeling like I get close to understanding it, and snapping back to not. Is that even possible?

Essentially what is “me” is constructed of a mixture of other materials, generations of other people’s decisions, and a heavily flucuating mindset and a weird little durable body.

And we’re all as weird and complex. Sometimes I hook into the feeling, sometimes, at work, that there’s hundreds of us hooked up to computers, having our own internal dialogues and having our own quiet battles, while parroting the words of a human being we are never going to met, but will know intimately for a few hours.

Mindblowing.

Love just seems impossible to me now, considering how we’re all just kind of isolated in these mind/body units that are not really capable of understanding ourselves, and have no chance of completely understanding the world around us or the other people in it, no matter how hard we try.

Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson

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Will you believe me when I tell you there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing. It was only certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that.