Excerpt About Selflessness

Dynamic of Self and No Self

We can observe a similar dynamic in the realization of selflessness, which is an important realization in most spiritual teachings. Most traditions agree that if you don’t get to a place of selflessness, you are still stuck with a self. That is also true on this path, but we see that, at some point, as realization reveals more of its freedom, it also frees itself from the position of selflessness. We can recognize that selflessness already implies some kind of memory of a self, whether as a knowing that it is possible to be a self or as an awareness that there was a self that is now gone. Either way, we are still referring to the concept of self. The mind is still thinking of its experience in terms of self or no self. But when reality manifests its featurelessness, the consciousness or the beingness is not thinking of itself in terms of self or no self. Not only are we not thinking in those terms, but those categories are extraneous to our experience. And even though these categories don’t apply and are not necessary, it doesn’t mean that the experiences of self and no self are completely gone. With total openness, sometimes it seems as if there were no self, and at other times it seems as if there is a self. So there is a fluidity and openness to experience that reveals that these are different ways that Total Being manifests itself. We see that we can experience Total Being in one way or another and also that Total Being can experience itself as not concerned and not affected by any particular feature of experience. Because of its total nonconceptuality, this openness has no problem with concepts. It can hold both the conceptual and the nonconceptual in its awareness, in its consciousness, and recognize them as valid ways of experiencing reality even though they happen to be opposites.

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