Of the many teachings, anatta, or selflessness, may be the hardest to understand. While we can all relate to the experience of dukkha, the ultimately unsatisfying nature of changing phenomena, and can observe first=hand the truth of impermanence, the concept of no-self is counterintuitive to our lived experience. Most of our lives revolve around the strongly conditioned belief in a self, with much of our energy devoted to gratifying it, defending it, aggrandizing it, and even disparaging it, all without even knowing quite what it is.
The great surprise that comes with deepening insight is that the self is not something in and of itself; rather, we create the felt sense of it moment to moment. Although in the beginning of practice we may find ourselves lost in and identified with many different elements of our experience, it usually doesn’t take long to realize that thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations are all part of a passing show.
Through a deepening recognition of selflessness, there is a surprising and growing sense of connection and intimacy. On the deepest level, we realize there is no one there to be separate, and the natural outgrowth of this realization is compassion. Selflessness, then, is none other than love, not in the sense of a particular feeling, but as an activity, an awake, compassionate responsiveness to ourselves and the world we live in. ~Joseph Goldstein
when you think you have a little stability, you then realize the great illusion….
inquiry for today~ how will you stay with the small and countless ways of beauty and integrity? the ones that rely on that deep space we call Self, but really is existence itself….
You are scared because you see and touch the bottom of human existence, which is based on emptiness, but simultaneously your human consciousness understands that nothingness objectively. Maybe nothingness looks like an abyss, or a black hole that will suck you in. You are in despair; you feel everything is in vain. But in that moment there is a great opportunity, because you are in the very incipient stage of tasting emptiness directly through your experience. So keep going!
When you really get in touch with nothing to depend on and become one with emptiness, a different and new life comes up. You are in the flow of life energy, just going on a nice walk, not expecting anything at all. This way of taking care of life is called true practice. Every day, all you have to do is stand up in emptiness, open your heart, and accept the lively energy of your life. Then you are ready to act based on wisdom. Even if you are scared, just go ahead. Proceed with stability and let wisdom guide the way. Just go on with your life. ~Dainin Katigiri