Sunday, 21 October 2012


This is my best attempt to explain no self and if you apply the instructions given correctly you are 100% guaranteed to see the self as a fiction*. 

(*Honesty available separately)

Metaphors are a good way of pointing out features we have never noticed before and there are plenty of good ones for no-self such as:

'There is nothing that will attain and nothing that won't attain' (Buddha)

'Produce a thought nowhere supported'
(Hui Neneg)

'Deny the self' (Jesus)

And of course the most simplistic one 'LOOK'.

However, these alone seem to be insufficient just like many others collected in the tomes of eastern philosophy and various ad hoc religions throughout the centuries. The problem with the spirituality trip is that people are mostly stuck trying to understand these things. 
They are actually pointers to guide the mind to seeing its true nature, yet some have been hijacked, Jesus is a good example of hijacked goods and there are a whole bunch of even more abstract metaphors such as 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?'

It all sounds deep and profound but really it just throws people off on a wild goose chase. What it boils down to is people really want to try and understand what these things mean, rather than actually LOOK at what they are pointing to. 
These represent a classic example of looking at the finger pointing towards the moon instead of the actual moon, to borrow another popular metaphor. One cannot see the wood for the trees quite simply, and this is really what we are dealing with when it comes down to some good old honest looking.

A metaphor can strike right through and illuminate an insight that we would previously have failed to see before. “Thunder and Sunshine” actually freed a few people just from reading its pages, it was written clearly and the metaphorical LOOK at real life has tipped a few people in to reality. 

So what is the fundamental feature of a metaphor that can be used to explain no-self? Quite simply you LOOK at what it is pointing at, just that one simple thing.

We like to think that we are the 'I' who does all the thinking and controls the actions but when challenged, people often cannot find this 'I'. They might say they cannot find it but they still hold the belief “I am me” because the thoughts says so and a belief about the matter cannot be seen through. Others still seem to cling to the hope they are some kind of higher order entity that arises as a sum of the mind and body, others still cling to the notion of a soul.

The thing is, the sum of its part is simply a concept.

A car is a handy conceptual reference to an items functional role but really the car is just a name for a collection of components bound together to realise a functional role. The car has no inherent existence, it is simply a conceptual label that captures some coarse-grained facts that are suitable for easy communication. We will focus on the fallacy of identity another time but for now we can start to LOOK at what is real.

Quite simply, 'you' are a thought 'you' don't exist in real life. It is only an illusion that you are the thinker and that you are responsible for the agency of the body. 'You' is simply a pronoun that refers to an imaginary character that the conceptual processing of the mind points to. 
Like the car, 'you' has no inherent existence above the sum of its parts. The thing is this is not difficult to see by any stretch of the imagination, it is the simplest of things to actually see this in real life. 

Lately, many people have seemed to go round in circles, we keep saying LOOK but people take this to mean LOOK for no-self. There is no self to be found because it does not exist, but what you ARE looking for, is simply the recognition of what actually exists in real life.

To characterise this, we can start to look in reality for what is true.

LOOK at a table in your room, touch it, it is an object that exists in real life.

LOOK at the computer, touch it, it is an object that exists in real life, but like our car we have attributed a convenient coarse-detailed concept to describe the intricate workings of a machine with a convenient labelling for communication. 

What is a college? Is it something real or does it have an existence above the sum of its parts, or is it really a handy conceptual reference to save us from having to describe all the buildings and all that the place entails?

LOOK at this picture:

Does Spiderman exist in real life?

Clearly not, but Spiderman exists as a fictional character. What we need to do is discern fact from fiction here.
The self is a concept that maps over our life but this is all it is. “You” is a fictional character with no inherent existence.
As absurd as it sounds, all your drama related to your self image and what people think of you is no more real than the adventures of Spiderman!  

This is not something you are required to comprehend or believe it is already true in real life. 

All it boils down to really is a belief that it is real when if you took the time to LOOK at this one particular thing, you would see directly that your identity is nothing more than a fiction. The self is no more real than the water in the mirage, the physical phenomena that support the illusion exist but in real life there is nothing there it is simply a trick of the mind.

Take a look at this duck.

OK, it is just a picture of a duck, perhaps you are trying to get this realisation of no self and you are struggling to see this. The thing is, there is no self so how can nothing see nothing? It seems counter intuitive to our experience to say there is no self but that is simply because we always think we are looking when really we are just going round in circles. 
No-self cannot be seen because there is no self quite simply. How can something that does not exist LOOK to find no-self? This realisation is not a matter of seeing no-self it is a matter of finding out the truth, what really exists in real life? Is the thought 'me' just a thought, or does it point to something that really exists?

Take a look at the picture of the duck again and now notice how it is a rabbit.

It was there all the time but you just did not notice it. Wittgenstein talked about aspect perception and noticing an aspect of a particular thing. Really, this is all that is required to see no self, it simply requires that you notice the aspect of what it really is. 

I cannot be more plain than this, it really boils down to seeing the illusory aspect of the thoughts that purport the existence of “you”. 

In this example, we have an ambiguity that switches between duck – rabbit as your apsect perception shifts between the two. The point is that you cannot 'unsee' an aspect once it has been revealed to you. The recognition of the pattern is it all it takes to see no self, just this one thing.

Of course, I used auto suggestion to get you to see the duck, having mentioned it as the title your brain was primed to focus on the duck. 
So it is with the self, we are primed to default back in tour habitual thinking patterns without actually LOOKING, but convincing ourselves that we actually have. That is the simple problem one faces if they have not seen it, they simply have not LOOKED.

Really this is how simple it all is, just looking at real life. It is not complicated by any stretch of the imagination it is simply a matter of noticing the illusional aspect of the self.

Try this one, you may want to make it full screen.  

Just a picture right?

Keep looking, can you see any characters? What about animals? Kudos if you find the Apache Indian!

Give it five minutes after you find as many as you can (there are loads). Then after short break try to look at the picture without seeing the characters and animals and you will find it is impossible because you have already seen the illusion, you cannot ever unsee it.

Appearances can be deceptive, what you really need to do is focus on what is there in real life and notice what really exists. That is all that is required to see the truth, no conceptualising, no magic tricks, no beliefs, just what is real.

What is actually there in real life? It really is as simple as that it is not complicated.


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