Self and Not-Self: Who (What) are You?

How do we wake up and live our awaking in the world with all its difficulty, divisiveness and heartache? How do we stay connected to the depth, beauty and richness of who and what we are?

The Buddha taught about both self and not-self. They are equally important. Respectively they reveal how to live a life of awakening in the world yet not attached to the world. Each is essential as we discover the profundity of the Four Enobling Truths:

1. That of dukkha (suffering/unsatisfactoriness);

2. The cause of dukkha (craving/clinging),

3. The cessation of dukkha (freedom/realization);

4. The path that leads to freedom/the truth of who/what we are

How do we recognize our innate wisdom and the freedom of heart that is part of our Buddha Nature? How do we work with the ‘small’ sense of self that identifies with our body, feelings, thoughts? How do we work with the not-self reality of our awakened heart as we live a life in the world?

Practicing Recognizing: Self and Not-self

Spend one hour each day noting what you experience from the perspective: Not me, Not mine, Not I. Be fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experience without identifying with them.

A few times each day, try to stop being aware. If you can’t stop being aware, notice what is aware, and the not-self nature of awareness itself. 

During the week, recognize when you identify with the small sense of self (ego identity) and when you don’t identify with the small sense of self, be aware of what is there.