(photo by John Guy Mammoser)
Occasionally, someone will say to me, “Well Michael, if I see that there is “no me,” then I will just lay on the couch eating bonbons all day and not get up!” What is being missed when these kind of comments arise is that there never was a “you”!
Awakening is not making “the self” disappear (how would you even do that!??), rather it’s the clear seeing of what has always been the case. The “self” is a conditioned habitual assumption/feeling, a reference point, that most have simply never really investigated.
Because “the self” usually goes unchallenged, whatever problems it seems to have are taken as “real.” And thus all the focus/energy goes into “solving the problem,” rather then seeing if the one who claims there is a problem really exists. Because if you can’t find the claimant, then how valid is the claim??
The main thing to “get” regarding awakening is that THOUGHTS don’t refer to an actual, findable, entity. Thoughts IMPLY the existence of a separate entity called “me,” but upon direct investigation, this one cannot be found. (The key is you have to actually look for it. Because it’s in the looking and not finding (and being honest enough to admit that you cannot actually find anything, which can be difficult due to a lifetime of conditioning) that the confirmation actually occurs in your own direct experience, which is all that matters.)
However, the believed in stories feel so real to us, that the line between reality and fantasy is often quite blurred. For example, I was at someone’s house and they had an “elf on the shelf.” The mother explained to me that they hide the elf in a new spot in the house every night leading up to Christmas. The story that accompanies the elf (and is told to the kids) is that it flies to the north pole every night and reports to Santa on whether the kids have been good or not.
Now, the fact is Santa is a made up fictional character, as is the elf. However, that does not stop the story from “working” or families from enjoying this game of hide and seek with the doll. My point is that your life is still the same after awakening, it’s just that the fictional character you once took to be real is seen for the myth it is since the “one” it refers to is unfindable, and thus cannot be said to actually exist as a real, separate entity.
And yet, somehow, seeing this clearly does not leave an emptiness or void, but rather a causeless, simple, unexplainable quiet joy and peace, as Life continues to go right on Liffing.