Stephen • • 3 min read
Spoiler Alert: You Do Not Exist
I would like to start this article gently, but the truth is. No matter how I put this, it will seem odd. No matter how I say this, it will rub someone up the wrong way. No matter how delicately I handle this it, will challenge the foundations of your entire life.
If moving towards the truth is not what you want. If breaking free of the ties that have bound your life. If a rejection of the very reason you are here now, searching for freedom is not what you are after, stop reading now.
I’ll assume whoever is left only wants one thing: the cold and ruthless truth. Now to dispense with the pleasantries…
What? How? Why?
I could explain logically that for self to exist it must be outside of reality-manipulating reality, and that anything outside of reality is unreal.
I could tell you that all you have ever had of your self is your thoughts about it. Just as your thoughts about unicorns do not mean unicorns are real, your thoughts about yourself are nothing more than thoughts.
We could delve into the many linguistic errors in this piece and ask “if you don’t exist why do you use the word ‘I’ so much”. I know, as you now know, that use of a word does not prove the existence of its namesake. We must simply do our best with the limited “selfish” language we were given.
I do not expect you to believe me
In fact I don’t want belief. I want you to discover it for yourself that you have no self (clever, eh?).
I’d like to offer that all we really know for sure is what we are experiencing right now. Memory is fallible, the past and future never come or go. All we can know is our direct experience of what is in the present moment.
With that in mind, I want you to pay direct attention to your experience of life right now.
Take a look at this self, which thinks your thoughts and moves your body. If it truly thinks your thoughts then it must exist apart from those thoughts. Pay attention to your experience; do you experience this self outside of thought?
Sure you have thoughts about the self, but look at experience, do those thoughts come from a self?
More importantly what are each of those thoughts DOING ? Are they trying to convince that there is a self?
I resisted this at first too..
The first thing I thought when I tried this was “Of course there is a self, this is stupid.” However as I watched, I realized that all my thoughts were about a self, but there was no self thinking up the thoughts.
I began to rationalize that I must be the brain because the brain thinks up the thoughts, but it hit me hard between the eyes. I don’t experience the brain thinking up thoughts.
I just experience thoughts arising conditioned by experience. It wasn’t my experience, I wasn’t there thinking the thoughts. There was only experience conditioned thoughts.
Sure there was a body and a mind, but the driver seat was empty. Life was automatic. As I looked around the room I sat in, the haze began to lift. My entire world fell apart. Only, it wasn’t my world and had never been. My whole life made sense, because it was never truly my life.
How has this affected me?
It’s an intense and real freedom, this liberation from erroneous assumption of self. From the time from the thought first entered my head, till my taking a look at the experience of life in that moment was roughly 7 minutes.
In mid September 2010 I saw life for what it is. It’s changed me for the better since. I can see clearly now. I tend not to get caught in emotional feedback loops and the idea of self. I still have it I just see that I have it, and see it for what it is.
Since I got this I’ve dedicated my life to bringing this to other people. I’ve been taking a little break but over the first 6 months I liberated 13 people . I have many friends who also pledged themselves to free this world. It’s hasn’t been easy there have been many ups and downs. We’ve stared into the abyss together and watched the brightest of stars fall from grace. What we do now we do with eyes open, and what we do is open eyes.
All it took was 7 minutes. I’ve seen people do it in 3. All you need to do is to pay attention to your experience of life. Just look.