The Light Itself

The Light Itself

through a glass darkly

The self

At the core of the practice is the question “Who am I?”. You are not your self. Your self is a tool to interact with the world. In the isolation of meditation, the self reveals itself as superfluous. In that moment of suspension, you can see clearly that the sense of self is only tool. Just like the mind that contains it, the self’s default state is silence. It is only when you interact with the world that your self is useful. 

Your self is made of your tastes, your values, your memories and everything you think of as you. The moment you were born, you were this pure little thing that was only made of existence, no thought, no judgment, no discernment. Then you started thinking about what you saw and heard. Your reality reflected an image of you that you decide to conform to. It made you build a sense of self, life experience after life experience. With time, it became so big and it seemed so important that it made you see yourself as separate from the rest of the world. 

The self is created by the mind to make sense of the view point that we are.

Get over yourself

A tool for survival

The sense of self is developed by the brain in the prefrontal cortex. It allows you to interact with the world. If that part of the brain is shut down (as you can experience first hand in meditation or under psychedelics), you still exist. That part of you isn’t really you, it’s only an impression of you. More importantly, the sense of self is a mechanism of defense for the survival of the species. It has nothing to do with you. You read that right: the self is not about you. 

You only see yourself as a self in order to survive. If a tiger attacks you, you must see it as a threat to you personally, because if you saw yourself as part of a whole (be it humanity or life), which is what you are, you would see that the survival of this specific individual is irrelevant. It won’t affect the whole. Humanity will survive and life will go on without you. However, if the entire human species thought this way, we would eventually all die one by one, thinking the whole will survive. If too many of us die, the whole will eventually die too. The self is the marvelously elegant answer of nature to that conundrum. You think you are you, so you run away from the tiger. If you survive, we all live.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is about you. Get over yourself!

Once you see it for yourself


I want to leave you with one last thought experiment on this topic of the self. First of all, the fact that there is no self doesn’t mean you are not an individual. What you see is different from what I see. What makes you an individual is your specific point of view. No self, doesn’t mean no point of view.

Secondly, if you follow the exercises presented here, I’m confident that one day you will feel selflessness from personal experience. That day I want you to consider something. If you can experience selflessness, you will know the absence of self is True. If it wasn’t true, who is having that feeling? How could a self feel selflessness without destroying itself? No self can possibly have a sensation of selflessness without that sensation turning into selfness. 

Therefore, if you feel selflessness, you know you are experiencing the Truth. Seek that sensation and see for yourself. I’ll be waiting for you there.