Die To Your Imagined Self

Die to your imagined self and abide in profound peace.

‘Imagined self’. What does this mean? You say, ‘I am this being, I am this self, and I don’t think I am imagining it.’ But is this you, this self, the real you or just an image that has been created by your conditioned mind?

The separate self we have come to call I, as in I am a woman, a man, I am old or young, etc., has no lasting qualities. All attributes of the body-mind we call the self are temporary and therefore unreliable measures of reality.

You imagine you are real, but you are only a conglomeration of passing thoughts, changing emotions, subtle or strong sensations, and endlessly shifting perceptions. What in this collection of characteristics can be considered real?

When you strip away the imagined attributes of your so-called self, what remains?

You still remain, or more to the point, your essential being, a knowing and aware presence, remains.

As you rest in this, as this, knowing presence, empty of the ephemeral, full of unchanging emptiness – your original Self – what is your experience?

Die now or die later and your experience will be the same. The knowing presence at the core of our being, devoid of the clutter of the body-mind’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, is revealed as an infinite and eternal peaceful stillness.

No limits can be found to this great emptiness. It is always present in the background of all experience, and when experiences fade, which they all do, it alone remains, unchanged.

And, as the background of all experience, all appearances must be made of this background, whatever unnamable stuff that might be. And if all things are made of the same stuff, all things are, at their core, the same. No separation, no division, no self, no other. And when all boundaries dissolve all that remains is love.

How do we strip away the imagined attributes of our so-called self? ‘Strip away’ is just a manner of speech. We really don’t have to do anything. In the stillness of not-doing, our essential shared nature, ever-present awareness, is revealed. And with this revelation all of our imagined attributes fade into the background just as the darkness of night fades in the coming dawn.

One Of Two Things

As someone dedicated to discovering your original nature, awakening or becoming enlightened, you’re either one of two things: a separate self seeking the everlasting peace and happiness of absolute consciousness, or absolute consciousness manifesting as a separate self, but only ever being itself.

If you look closely at your experience, you can only be the latter – absolute consciousness manifesting as a separate self, but only ever being itself.

So the first thing you can do is relax. Enjoy your life experience, your manifestation as a so-called individual body-mind with its endless parade of positive, negative, and neutral thoughts coming and going, waves of diverse emotions washing through you, the ever changing array of sensations coursing through your body, the variety of sense perceptions of the world experienced through your five senses.

Then ask yourself the question, is this separate self, this seeker, real? If it is, then we should proceed with our search using the various tools offered to the seeker, e.g., teachers, gurus, study, retreats, meditation, mantra, yoga, etc. If it is not, then we can abandon our search and live our lives in accord with our essential being, that is, absolute consciousness, whose very nature is one of peace, love, and happiness.

When we seriously investigate the elements of the separate self, that is, its thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, we discover that they are all temporary occurrences, forever changing, and therefore can’t be considered real in the truest sense.

For something to be considered real it would have to be ever-present and unchanging, unmoved by any experience of the body, mind, and world. It would have to be beyond time and space, and therefore infinite and eternal.

So trying to prove that the separate self, our body-mind, is real is like trying to prove that we have captured wind in a bottle. The separate self, the seeker, can never find the infinite and eternal because it is already a manifestation of it. It’s like the wind looking for the sky.

For just a moment, shift your perspective from that of an individual self made up of temporary attributes seeking the infinite, to the unchanging infinite itself, the ever-present knowing within you, that seeks nothing as it is all things. You can do this, as you know intuitively that this ever-present knowing is at the core of your being, the source of your being, our being.

At first glance, it seems as though we have two choices, to identify as one of two things: the infinite and eternal Self manifesting as a human being, or the finite and time-bound separate self forever grasping after the truth. But, in fact, there is no choice – there is only the choiceless awareness of just one thing that is not even a thing.

Nothing To Know

When you are searching for ultimate reality there is nothing you need to know. All knowledge is a hindrance to realization. Basing understanding on knowledge is like thinking that the reflection in a mirror is the real thing.

All reflections in a mirror are made only of mirror, just as all appearances of the body, mind, and world are made only of awareness, or that which knows them.

To say that all knowledge is a hindrance to realization is not exactly true. There is one thing you do need to know, and that is the knowing element at the center of our being that knows all experience. And even this is not quite right, as it’s not something you know, it’s something you are.

All you can truly know is your original self, or the unchanging awareness that is at the core of your being, or more accurately, at the core of our shared being, because if you investigate the qualities of awareness you find that it is borderless and beyond time, or infinite and eternal, and therefore there is no room for two.

So polish your mirror, the one mirror, recognize the unchanging awareness at the core of our being that knows all experience, but is not itself an experience, and reflect all that is real – our original one self.

Then throw away the mirror.