Thursday, June 21, 2012

But my no-self still needs sleep...

So as to what I was reading from the night before that may have spurred some insomnia.   I just had started reading a book on Buddhism on the Kindle that my husband so thoughtfully just got for me.  I love the feel of books and so resisted the whole e-book thing, but I find that I like it.  It is kind of like holding a book, and it has a groovy little night light.

Anyway, the chapter was about awakening to the true nature of mind and no-self.  I will do my best to explain what I was reading as far as my still limited understanding goes, and if anyone reading this post can correct or further enlighten me (pun intended) I would love your feedback and dialogue.

Buddhist psychology looks at mind in its pure state as a process, not a thing, and as a result there is not really a self that exists independent of others, no static entity, but rather, no-self.  That is, the concept of a fixed identity is an illusion of sorts, an artifact that we construct out of our beliefs about the nature of reality, particularly dualities such as there being a world "out there" and then a separate world inside my head, what I consider "me."

And when I am caught in the concept of "me" there is always something to defend, to cling to, to avoid, to fear--all in an attempt to preserve an idea of a "me" that exists only because I have constructed it.  You, I, all of us are more like drops of water in a larger stream; we do not exist independent of the stream, we are the stream and the stream is us.

Now I find this to be a wonderful, limitless, peaceful point of view; when I can inhabit that idea and I really feel into it during meditation, the experience is beyond words.    It is the flip side to my existential dread, that fear of non-being, the loss of "me" upon death.  Buddhist philosophy is that my suffering because of those thoughts and fears is unnecessary, because there is no actual individual, isolated self to lose.

Okay, so if these kind of ideas are new to you, this might sound like gibberish, and when I am too caught up in my ego, this perspective can spin me out a bit.  But truly, in combination with other aspects of Buddhist values and practices, I find these ideas to be absolutely transformative, and (a word only a recovering Catholic Buddhist would use), redemptive.

This kind of inquiry into the nature of reality, the questioning of perceptions and assumptions, and moving past limitations I have placed on myself and others is vital to me right now.

But it I think at bedtime it may be a little intense.  

Better to read or ponder some other aspect of Buddhism like loving-kindness, something soothing to lead to slumber, and leave the mind-morphing stuff to a fully rested brain, planting the seed in the morning light, then meditating, to see what fruit it bears.

Or maybe at night I should just switch to one of the other books Curtis loaded on my Kindle.

Hmmm, Fifty Shades of Grey...

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