Hunting down that dastardly sense of self

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8 years 1 week ago #17964 by Ona Kiser
Came up (not for the first time) on a practice thread whether it is or isn't useful to use practice strategies in which one tries to identify, hunt down, eradicate, or otherwise pay attention to "the sense of self" (with the goal of eliminating it). Seems there might be several points worth exploring.

a) why does it seem that some teachers or methods encourage this practice, while others say it is a trap? Are the former being misunderstood and the latter right? or are there contexts in which it is a functional practice?
b) if we are trying to eliminate "the sense of self" through some practice or other, can we be sure that what we are paying attention to actually is "the sense of self" - if not, why not?
c) other points anyone thinks of

My own take at the moment is that point B is the trap. If one decides to hunt down and eradicate selfing/sense of self, this means that one first has to decide which parts of ones experience fall into that category. This is nearly always problematic, in part at least because the desire to hunt those things down and eradicate them is ITSELF an action of the sense of self/ego/self-identity etc. So you think you are doing something productive, while actually feeding the very process you think you are eliminating. Thus the counter-intuitive "allow everything to be" or "just note whatever arises" practices are more productive. By undermining the tendency to want to fix/do/change/control/manipulate/etc, they undermine the selfing process. Which is exactly why they tend to feel useless, frustrating, unproductive, etc at times.

But I do wonder why there seems to be encouragement to use these sorts of practices in some traditions or methods. Are those teachings being misunderstood? are they bad teachings? is context important? Any ideas?

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8 years 1 week ago #17966 by Kate Gowen
The critical phrase "scrubbing out blood with blood" comes to mind.

It seems no mystery that in the context of uncritical belief in self-improvement and unending "progress"-- that the project of expunging the self-sense would have appeal as the ultimate goal.

I believe I've said before that, for people of the current zeitgeist, the ultimate challenging instruction is: "DON'T," or "let it be," or "be as you are."

My take on the self is that it is not the problem; the problem is in the belief that the whole chain of inferences drawn are reality-- and the ONLY reality, at that. Our heritage of monotheism is really philosophically crippling.

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8 years 1 week ago - 8 years 1 week ago #17967 by Ona Kiser
Do you imply, Kate, that for people of other times or cultures, teachings about expunging the sense of self might have some relevance?

(Because one thing that intrigues me is that if such teachings are not very useful, why do they exist? Are they simply mistaken teachings, promulgated by people who are misunderstanding things? Or were/are they relevant in some contexts, just not for us, here and now? Or do they constantly get reinvented by every generation of meditators simply because the impulse to fall into that trap will always be part of practice (been in it myself)? Or...???.)
Last edit: 8 years 1 week ago by Ona Kiser. Reason: more words! added more words!

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8 years 1 week ago #17969 by Kate Gowen
I'm making what may be a minor point-- or what may be the crack in the concept that shatters it completely: "self" is shorthand for a culture-bound set of ideas about individual/community; physical/spiritual; sin/sanctity (or worthy/unworthy); mind/body.

And how the endeavor to "expunge the self" functions-- and even what it means-- varies with the cultural context. I find myself in this present-day context; as a peculiar individual I enjoy making "meta" speculations insofar as I'm capable.

What I think DOES NOT work very well, is to omit looking at the context, and just assume that the project is the same for us as for Ramana Maharshi or Saint Whomever. And that it is a historically validated Supreme Accomplishment and so fail to ask questions and really come to some personal understanding.

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8 years 1 week ago #17971 by Ona Kiser
Thanks, that clarifies! I would be inclined to agree, particularly that when we do look for or identify the "sense of self" we have in mind a particular subset of experiences/feelings/phenomena which may or may not be as important to the task, so to speak, as we imagine they are. In my own experience (though I don't recall specifically doing practices with an overt/expressed focus on getting rid of the self) it's been the case that whatever I may have thought was "the main problem" at any given point in practice has never turned out to be the problem I thought it was after all, and moreover has constantly changed. Said another way, thinking "I have to solve this" or "I have to find that" has always turned out to be irrelevant. I'd guess that even in traditions where "self" focused practices (or language) was used, that THAT aspect was also a factor. (The same turns out to be true, in my experience, for God-centered practices. What God "is" is constantly changing, understood in new ways, not what you expected, etc.)

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8 years 1 week ago - 8 years 1 week ago #17974 by Shargrol
This is a great conversation!

I just want to throw in the data point that the single most awful thing I've ever done on the path is to try to hunt down and destroy the sense of self. Yes, this is intended to be a warning for others. It's just so stupid and damaging. It seems productive -- because the increased investigation will at first provide some low-hanging-fruit insights. It seems mythically correct --- ah, the snake must swallow it's own tail! But your hunt for yourself will never catch up with yourself. You will create more desires/aversions/fantasies as you hunt desires/aversions/fantasies. The tail of the snake will keep growing the more the snake eats its tail. It's futile.

You might even think if you exhaust yourself trying to hunt the self, maybe when I collapse from the effort I'll wake up. Nope, unlikely! Most likely you won't have the energy or clarity of mind to have an insight! It's a dead end.

This might not save anyone from their own mess-ups, but I honestly think it's worth emphasizing that the basics are the most important thing. Let experience be and experience it as it is. Use a method to help build the ability to do that if needed. Don't worry about speed of progress, just be honest with yourself about whether you are spending your practice time practicing. Don't try to make up for quality with quantity or speed.
Last edit: 8 years 1 week ago by Shargrol.

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8 years 1 week ago - 8 years 1 week ago #17991 by every3rdthought
It is a practice that certainly seems to have borne fruit for some practitioners - I remember reading something of Nikolai's along these lines. I've tried a few times - and also, sometimes been very frustrated by that sense of 'there is/I am an observer, but how or from where? - but have only got more frustrated ("It's these physical sensations in the head!" "It's thoughts with 'I' in them!" and so on and so on).

What might be worth noticing is the difference between 'observe' and 'hunt down'? Because my observation is that you can't destroy something by wanting to (although some of the Buddhist scriptures do seem to imply that this is possible, as a last resort, with unskilful mental states) but just by observing it, it changes. Also, one of the huge early insights in Mahasi vipassana, at least for me and I know for others, was that BY bringing one's attention to something it is often seen to pass away. This can often mean that by observing something, we are then subconsciously trying to get rid of it through the act of observation. But of course, there is observation without that desire or intent.

So, what might we mean by 'identify' AS OPPOSED TO 'eradicate' here? It has sometimes seemed very useful to me to notice the 'selfing' process happening, although that may not be what I was TRYING to do as a technique.

The other thing worth taking into account is that what's meant by 'the self' is really different between diverse traditions (and no doubt between different individuals). So for most Buddhist traditions any self of any kind is bad and to be seen through, whereas for Vedantic practices there's a distinction between small/ego self (bad, or rather, causing suffering) and big Self (I am God and/or consciousness and/or everything). Which can lead to absolutely opposite approaches to something like, say, the sense, thought or idea, "I am."
Last edit: 8 years 1 week ago by every3rdthought.

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8 years 1 week ago #17992 by every3rdthought

Ona Kiser wrote: the desire to hunt those things down and eradicate them is ITSELF an action of the sense of self/ego/self-identity etc. So you think you are doing something productive, while actually feeding the very process you think you are eliminating. Thus the counter-intuitive "allow everything to be" or "just note whatever arises" practices are more productive. By undermining the tendency to want to fix/do/change/control/manipulate/etc, they undermine the selfing process. Which is exactly why they tend to feel useless, frustrating, unproductive, etc at times


Just to play Devil's Advocate, also, this view makes logical sense, but when followed to its full conclusion it leads, or can lead, to the neo-Advaita perspective that there is absolutely nothing that can be done or, more importantly, SHOULD be done in terms of formal practice (indeed, one should not do formal practice) because absolutely anything that 'I can do' about awakening is simply reinforcing the (small/ego) Self.

(My own take is that there's a kernel of truth here inasmuch as both grace and lack of free will have a role, but obviously I wouldn't advocate not doing formal practice for that reason)

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8 years 1 week ago - 8 years 1 week ago #17993 by Chris Marti
Can we eat our own face?
Last edit: 8 years 1 week ago by Chris Marti.

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8 years 1 week ago #17994 by Ona Kiser

every3rdthought wrote:

Ona Kiser wrote: the desire to hunt those things down and eradicate them is ITSELF an action of the sense of self/ego/self-identity etc. So you think you are doing something productive, while actually feeding the very process you think you are eliminating. Thus the counter-intuitive "allow everything to be" or "just note whatever arises" practices are more productive. By undermining the tendency to want to fix/do/change/control/manipulate/etc, they undermine the selfing process. Which is exactly why they tend to feel useless, frustrating, unproductive, etc at times


Just to play Devil's Advocate, also, this view makes logical sense, but when followed to its full conclusion it leads, or can lead, to the neo-Advaita perspective that there is absolutely nothing that can be done or, more importantly, SHOULD be done in terms of formal practice (indeed, one should not do formal practice) because absolutely anything that 'I can do' about awakening is simply reinforcing the (small/ego) Self.

(My own take is that there's a kernel of truth here inasmuch as both grace and lack of free will have a role, but obviously I wouldn't advocate not doing formal practice for that reason)


I'd say not so much that, as that one can see the practice and the fruit of practice as identical: sort of as in Zen, where just sitting is enlightenment..."but I don't feel enlightened!" - "But this is it. Just sitting. Just walking. Just shitting." "But I want it to feel special!" "What if it's just sitting." "I don't like that!" "Just sit." And so forth. You just sit until you recognize that just sitting was always just sitting all along, instead of just sitting being a frustrating exercise in undermining your desire for it to be something else. That sort of thing.

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8 years 1 week ago #17996 by every3rdthought

Chris Marti wrote: Can we eat our own face?


I'm not sure this is useful, though, because it's a metaphor. I know that sounds obvious, and just the other day I was thinking about the fact that the eye can't see itself, but great teachers also use metaphors which suggest the exact opposite (which Shargrol alludes to above), e.g. Ramana's 'the stick that stirs the fire is eventually consumed itself'

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8 years 1 week ago - 8 years 1 week ago #17997 by Sadalsuud
if by sense of self we mean the belief in watcher/doer/centre, aka the thing that goes away post-awakening (tech 4th path),

then my personal experience is that rabidly, desperately, looking for the sense of self is a really good idea. Before MCTB first path, every time I tried to find/watch "the watcher" I was hit by massive fear sensations, which I took to be a sign that we are on the right trail. My MCTB second path moment came from vipassana'ing 'the watcher' and seeing it was just fleeting sensations, and not a solidly existing thing at all. After this the sense of self as watcher was only on part-time. Looking for the sense of self as doer or centre continued to be a good practice for me, continually undermining the solidity of sense of self.

If OTOH by sense of self we are talking about emotional identification with things generally, (ie the cultivation which occurs after awakening) then I don't know. It seems the general advice is to just let everything unwind itself, by just clearly seeing everything, and noticing any kind of pushes and pulls as telling you where the 'ego energy' is residing. e.g. pull to "desire to be more awakened", or "push of aversion from certain thought patterns" But how the individual goes about this is very different case to case. Sometimes it may look like fierce effort, sometimes like "do nothing".

happy new year all
Last edit: 8 years 1 week ago by Sadalsuud.

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8 years 1 week ago #17998 by Shargrol

every3rdthought wrote: Ramana's 'the stick that stirs the fire is eventually consumed itself'


The problem is that people think if they stir real quickly, the fire will consume it faster... but probably it will take even longer to be consumed. :D

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8 years 1 week ago #17999 by Shargrol

Sadalsuud wrote: vipassana'ing 'the watcher'


Good to hear from you Sadalsuud!

You're right. Never say never.

To put a finer point on it, I think timing is everything. The furious hunt for the watcher can be something that is a method for developing concentration for the initial insight stages. Then that cause-effect relationship seems to fall apart during dark night and hunting will probably yield frustration. Then during equanimity the watcher sensations are really obvious and can be vipassanized, but that can also be a dead end. Very person specific, no guarantee of anything.

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8 years 6 days ago #18003 by Paul
This is a great discussion for me right now, being pre-SE and being at a stage where the observer features significantly in many of my sits. This is also one of the issues that has derailed my practise on more than one occasion.

I had some sort of perceptual shift into non-self through a combination of meditation and direct pointing with the LU group, but I soon found the language and context they used to be frustratingly limiting. I realise that I’m not anywhere near the levels of most people on this site, and that this may have been the case with many in the LU group too, and so try to remain very open to this subject. Sorry if these questions are lowering the level of the discussion, but it would be great if someone could help in clarifying them :-)

Surely, just because the sense of self is impermanent and illusionary, it isn’t any less ‘real/useful/invaluable’ then any other conceptual function that humans use to survive? Isn’t the point of the practices just to be able to, in increasingly accurate and subtle insights, not get sucked into the issues that a sense of self invariably creates? (I realise this sounds like I’m trivialising the attainments, but shouldn’t be taken as I’ve missed their profundity).

To agree with what’s already been said, ‘selfing’ seems to be an inescapable part of the human condition. If this is the case, isn’t trying to eradicate it like trying to eradicate pain? I suffer from chronic pain, and as much as I’d like to eradicate that, the best I can do is lessen my reactivity to it (which in turn drastically reduces the ‘pain’). While the techniques I use to do this can semantically come across as describing the eradication of pain, and may in fact almost achieve that (until it doesn’t), that’s not what I’m doing; and if I believe it is, no matter how helpful it may be, aren’t I just limiting the depth of the possible insights, denying myself the flexibility of a significant tool in easing suffering, and creating ‘karma’ that is really going to mess with me later?

With the sense of self being exponentially more complex and pervasive than just pain, a belief in its eradication is going to exponentially magnify these issues?

Thanissaro’s essay really resonates with my understanding: www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/than...html#notselfstrategy
But, I’m increasingly wary of what I take to be understood when it comes to most things, let alone issues like this!

Also...

How important is a meditative focus on this sense of self for SE?

When it comes up, should I just try to stay with the loop of observer disappearing into sensation and back again?

Apologies once again if I’ve slightly derailed this thread!

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8 years 6 days ago #18006 by Ona Kiser
@Paul, there are no bad questions. :)

I think this is where one needs to work with what is being experienced right now, rather than try to force ones experiences to fit a preconceived/imagined idea. In the early stages of a meditation practice, one needs to practice paying attention, observing what sensations and thoughts and so on are coming and going. So in doing this the sense of an observer naturally occurs, since this is the project one is working on. It can take quite a while (months, a year) for a person to get the hang of just sitting quietly and noticing what's going on right now. That's a great way to start.

At a later stage, when the ability to pay attention is established, one may begin to investigate in more detail. In some cases people begin to watch for the beginnings and ends of sensations, or to notice how much detail there is in what seems like "one sensation" - it actually consists of more detail than was previously seen. And so on. Or one might investigate the sense of the observer itself. For instance, if you know there is an observer observing the coming and going of sensations/thoughts... who knows this? Who is observing the observer? Another observer? Which observer is "me"? How do I know that? Who is the me who knows that? And so on. But to force that investigation too soon can simply be confusing, which is why sometimes practice instructions can seem confusing: they may be right for one person at one stage, but not right for another person at another stage.

Generally speaking one wants to avoid "escapist" practices where one tries not to feel or see things that are unpleasant (by hiding in altered states, by quitting the sit or changing techniques when it gets uncomfortable, and so on.) And as time goes on and one sees more clearly, it is generally helpful to begin to notice the details of ones motivations, which can manifest in things like noticing how one labels things as pleasant or unpleasant, how one wants to avoid the unpleasant and cling to the pleasant. Noticing the tendency to want to control things, the discomfort with not knowing, and so on. There are numerous strategies and styles for working through things and what works best really depends on the problems or questions a particular person faces, and their personality, culture, aesthetics, etc.

My 20 cents anyway.

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8 years 6 days ago #18010 by Chris Marti

I'm not sure this is useful, though, because it's a metaphor.


I'm not sure I understand. Metaphors in general aren't useful, or this metaphoric particular isn't useful?

I can only speak from personal experience with this "self" stuff, and what my experience has been is that it is the definition of circumstantial: it is not a "thing" that can be observed directly. It's always a supposition created by inference. It only "exists" as a way to view experience - because of the location of our senses, for example, or the assumption that there is an operating "commander" that coordinates everything "I" do that is directly behind my eyes, or that "I" can actually direct my attention and all my actions as if I have absolute control over them, or that thing happen in "real-time" as I conceptualize them. So, in my experience I cannot eat my own face. I can contemplate it and I can imagine it, but it will never actually happen.

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8 years 6 days ago #18013 by Ona Kiser
Here's a quote my husband just read to me from a book he's reading, that is impressively relevant to this conversation. From an insight meditation teacher (emphasis mine):

"In the end the problem of our suffering is an imagined one. This intellectual understanding may not alleviate our difficulty, but it can orient us correctly to the solution. We begin with anatta even though we have not realized it. If we do not begin with anatta, the mind will ask questions and devise techniques that seem to address the resolution of its pain, but actually compound the problem. The sense-of-self loves to manage its dissolution. When “I” see “I” have a problem with “myself,” my thoughts get heavier, the drama deeper, and the assumption of “me” stronger. I like nothing more than to take myself on, and as this battle ensues, each obstacle, each reaction, each strategy casts the problem of “me” just beyond reach. Sometimes I feel like I am getting somewhere with myself, other times I am frustrated with my lack of progress. “Keep going,” the sense-of-self says. “You have more to do.” When we try to get over an experience, ponder our salvation, or take the sense-of-self as being anything more than a persistent thought, we are assuming the truth of our separation. But assuming the truth of separation is the cause of separation. If we question that truth rather than assert it, we will rediscover the lost balance between the finite and the infinite, and the vertical and horizontal will come into proper alignment. This leaves us in a dilemma. We feel separated, and yet in truth we are not. We cannot pretend we do not feel separated, so doing nothing is not the answer. Yet we also know that “doing” something makes the problem real and strategically separates us from the solution. This question of separation needs to be handled with utmost care; we have to be full-hearted in our determination to end a problem that does notexist. We have to take the problem on as if it were real, and then learn our way into a true and proper relationship with all things. The tools we use, the strategies we employ, the way we comprehend the problem, and the view we hold of it can be framed to facilitate that learning and understanding. The way we initially define the problem will set up our view of the entire Eightfold Path. The definition establishes a view and purpose for our practice, and if the definition is wrong, the path will be distorted and the practices we use will miss their mark. In the beginning we apply the known and trusted methods of the workplace, using what was successful in the past. However, the qualities of mind engendered in the workplace such as ambition, self-recognition, hard work, status, and power are not the heartfelt qualities we seek in our spiritual life. I worked in hospices for over seventeen years, and I never heard a dying patient wish she had spent more time at work. Over the years I have also seen many dying patients relax into a more patient, joyful, aware, allowing, and kind demeanor. They somehow knew these qualities would serve them in dying."

Smith, Rodney (2011-07-22). Stepping Out of Self-Deception: The Buddha's Liberating Teaching of No-Self (Kindle Locations 647-655). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

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8 years 5 days ago #18022 by Paul
Thanks for the advice - you've touched on a few recurrent issues that I need to spend some time with :-)

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8 years 5 days ago #18023 by Shargrol

Paul wrote: How important is a meditative focus on this sense of self for SE?
When it comes up, should I just try to stay with the loop of observer disappearing into sensation and back again?


For what it's worth, the best general rule for things like this is "know" then "explore". As everyone has pointed out, there isn't a particular thing to find that is the answer. So when a curious event/insight pops up in meditation, the first thing is to allow it to be and get to know it. The realization is going to take some form, even simple stuff like "I am not my big toe". That insight will become more solid and recall-able. The danger then becomes making that insight into a solid thing. So then it's important to get a sense of how that insight arises in context, taking a big perceptive step back. Things tend to arise with a background context (dependent origination) and things arise within awareness, but what is awareness? (inquiry).

A person's path is going to show them insights and those insights are going to open up into bigger insights. The danger is the temptation to move away from the here and now and go hunting for those bigger insights. This doesn't work. It has to begin with what is naturally arising. Big insights of non-self are founded on lots of little insights of non-self.

Every meditator comes up with their own language for what it's like when close to insight. For you it might be "the looping of observer disappearing into sensation and back again". For Daniel, he talked about "formations". For me, I use the word about "elusiveness". The problem is none of these might be relevant for anyone else. And even worse, someone might take the words and make them into a metaphysical reality. Like there really are >formations< like Daniel describes, or that >looping< really exists, or there really is a state called >elusiveness<. This can create a whole other motivation to hunt and create a tendency to manipulate experience to create those things.

So if "looping" is what seems to come up when you are opening to the present moment -- good! Allow yourself to soak in that and know it fully. But also leave space for that experience to disappear or to lead you onward to something else.

Remember, you are not applying a technique except for that which brings you into a close experience of your experience. A technique should just lead you back to where you already are and help keep you from solidifying it. Returning to the breath or noting or dropping control etc. are just reminders to let the moment be and experience it as completely as possible.

The judging mind, manipulating mind, controlling mind, technique applying mind is not the mind that awakens.

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8 years 5 days ago #18038 by every3rdthought

Chris Marti wrote:

I'm not sure this is useful, though, because it's a metaphor.


I'm not sure I understand. Metaphors in general aren't useful, or this metaphoric particular isn't useful?

I can only speak from personal experience with this "self" stuff, and what my experience has been is that it is the definition of circumstantial: it is not a "thing" that can be observed directly. It's always a supposition created by inference. It only "exists" as a way to view experience


In that case, maybe I'd say I don't find this one useful - inasmuch as, in paralleling 'the self' to 'the face,' it assumes that the self (the self that everyone 'normally' experiences, i.e. the small/ego self) is actually there and existing, and it's 'real' existence is why it can't be observed - like the face.

Also, to get gruesome on ya I could eat my face if I chopped it off and then ate it a la Hannibal :lol:

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8 years 5 days ago #18039 by every3rdthought

Paul wrote: This is a great discussion for me right now, being pre-SE and being at a stage where the observer features significantly in many of my sits. This is also one of the issues that has derailed my practise on more than one occasion.


I got really frustrated with that sense of, 'I am the observer' around about my biggest SE experience, because I had a concept in mind that seeing non-self would be that 'feeling' going away. It didn't go away with SE and though now sometimes it drops a bit in particular states (post-2nd or 3rd-path, though like Ona I'm increasingly dubious about the terminology) it's still there - it's more what I'd describe as 'my relationship to it' that's shifted.

That also relates to the different takes of different practice traditions, e.g. Advaita or Kashmir Shaivism both suggest, rather than a Buddhist deconstruction and dissolution of the self, a shift from small to big self (Self identified with God identifed with consciousness) so in terms of theology, it's that very feeling of 'I am' which for them needs to be expanded rather than deconstructed.

Surely, just because the sense of self is impermanent and illusionary, it isn’t any less ‘real/useful/invaluable’ then any other conceptual function that humans use to survive? Isn’t the point of the practices just to be able to, in increasingly accurate and subtle insights, not get sucked into the issues that a sense of self invariably creates? (I realise this sounds like I’m trivialising the attainments, but shouldn’t be taken as I’ve missed their profundity).

To agree with what’s already been said, ‘selfing’ seems to be an inescapable part of the human condition. If this is the case, isn’t trying to eradicate it like trying to eradicate pain?...

aren’t I just limiting the depth of the possible insights, denying myself the flexibility of a significant tool in easing suffering, and creating ‘karma’ that is really going to mess with me later?

With the sense of self being exponentially more complex and pervasive than just pain, a belief in its eradication is going to exponentially magnify these issues?


Hmmm. Again this depends on different practices, but I think one of the things that has been important over time for me myself to notice here is that any assumption that something is 'part of the human condition' is exactly what great spiritual teachers were addressing, i.e. our self-imposed (zing!) limitations. The Buddha for example, precisely claimed to have got rid of suffering (though this evidently did not include either physical discomfort, or the idea that thing A is more of a hassle than thing B and therefore maybe not worth doing) and of the self-as-suffering.

IMHO, all we can do is practice where we're at, but try to notice our assumptions - we can't be assumption free, both 'eradication of self' and 'non-eradication of self' are going to come back and bite us on the butt later in one way or another :) I've been hugely bit on the butt by all kinds of assumptions that were the best I could come up with based on my knowledge and experience at the time I held them, and that will still be true in the present, but I see that as an inevitable part of the journey - but it's useful to identify that we're holding them if possible, even if that doesn't make us not hold them anymore...

For example, the problem is, things that we use to survive also cause us suffering - they're not just good or just bad. For what it's worth, people who claim to have eradicated their 'self' still function in the world as they did before (e.g. Gary Weber). And, 'survival' itself may not necessarily be assumed to be a good, depending how it's defined - the goal of the Indian traditions was to step off the wheel of rebirth into a world where suffering is the fundamental condition of existence...

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8 years 4 days ago #18053 by Paul
Thank you both shargrol and every3rdthought - you've both given me some really useful points to reflect on :)

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8 years 4 days ago #18059 by Chris Marti

In that case, maybe I'd say I don't find this one useful - inasmuch as, in paralleling 'the self' to 'the face,' it assumes that the self (the self that everyone 'normally' experiences, i.e. the small/ego self) is actually there and existing, and it's 'real' existence is why it can't be observed - like the face.


That's fine. It's just a metaphor that rings true for me. It's not for everybody :-)

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8 years 1 day ago #18141 by Shargrol
I had to chuckle, one of my old internet links lead to this:

www.wearesentience.com/uploads/7/2/9/3/7...expanded_version.pdf

I'm reminded of all the reading I did years ago on self-inquiry... what a curious thing this spiritual path stuff is.

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