There is suffering,
but no-one who suffers.
There is rebirth,
but no-one who is reborn..
Clouds passing through the sky
Everything is without a separate self.
The one who understands this
through insight and wisdom,
is freed from suffering.
Dhammapada: verse 279
Meditation is the most important gift we can give ourselves in this life.
To sit without waiting for something, to be still and simply accept that which is presented to us with love and humility, is the essence of this beautiful practice. In the silence of this spacious and peaceful mind we will see, but more importantly experience directly, the reality of this being that we call self.
Here there is no-where to hide from the truth, and when the heart is open and willing to know, we will joyfully accept the reality presented to us without compromising. This is the beauty of the meditation practice now known as Vipassana – a practice that transcends technique, tradition and dogma, and allows us to meet the truth.
However, without the fearless meditative nature we can easily cultivate just another way to misunderstand what we experience. To continue to compound our delusion by rejecting the truth of each moment and ignoring the reality of impermanence and emptiness:
‘whatever arises passes away and is not what we are’.
When we look closely, with our eyes and heart unclouded by views, opinions and other delusive ideas, we will know and understand that in absolutely real terms, at the place of pure dhamma, there is no individual or separate self that exists.
There is no meditator, only the meditation, there is no feeler, only the feeling, there is no person, only the process of life.
It will be as though we watch clouds passing through an empty sky.
Every thought, mood, feeling and emotion is just another cloud to watch. They have shapes and apparent realities, but if we try to hold them as something real and enduring we will see that each of them has the same quality as all phenomenon, to be insubstantial. To be empty.
And so it is with the fantasy of self, of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
When we are able to meet the truth without fear and delusion, we will see that these are only words, only convenient ways to speak, but have no place in the realm of the absolute truth.
In the realm of pure dhamma. They are only labels on that which cannot be labelled.
No matter how powerful or real it may seem, ‘I’ is just another thought that arises and passes away in this moment. ‘Me’ and ‘mine’ can only be the same.
However, arising simultaneously with these thoughts are all the divisions that exist in life. ‘You’, ‘yours’, ‘theirs’, ‘ours’, etc.
None of them have a real or substantial nature, but all of them are thought worthy of persecuting for, fighting for and dying for.
The full and complete comprehension of the truth of the emptiness of a separate and ‘real self’, (Anatta) brings the perfect liberation from suffering and unhappiness in life, for all suffering begins with the delusion of ‘self’.
Arising with this liberation is the experience of oneness with all beings and the supreme joy of ‘beingness’. No longer being someone or something, but simply ‘being one’ with all things.
If there is no self, who is it that gets old, gets sick and dies?
If there is no self, who is it that experiences pain and heat and cold?
If there is no self, who is it that will hurt, fight and kill others?
To be free from the delusion of self is to be free from the difficulties of life. Our life will stay the same but the problems fall away. After all, if there is no self, who is it that suffers?
The secret to happiness in this life, is not to mind. To be accepting of the reality of each situation in each moment. Even if we don't like it. Even if we don't approve of it. Even if we don't want it!
The reality is that which is actually happening, and we are part of it. It is the truth unfolding before our very eyes. The moment we accept and harmonise with this truth we are free from the power of fear.
So accept the reality of the moment and respond with love, respond with compassion, respond with wisdom. Don't build a fantasy life around your personal views and opinions as to how everyone and everything should be. They are not the truth, they are only the conditions for your unhappiness. So let go of this limited way of living and be one with the reality of the moment. Be happy.
From the new version of Life is not Personal
Available late 2007
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