Dharma Glimpse by Beth Hickey
What is “Self”?
If we understand what constitutes self, then maybe we have a better chance of also understanding what we are being encouraged to let go of.
Self is described as a person’s “essential being” that distinguishes them from others.
It is actually quite difficult to pin it down precisely because it changes form constantly.
Many parts constitute self; ego, introspection, oneself, identity, character, essential qualities, environment, nurture, opportunities, to name a few.
So, it’s impossible to grasp the enormity of the enigma “an individual”.
Supposedly we are in charge of our thoughts, have our own personality, have a self-awareness and strive for a healthy strong sense of confidence. Psychologists inform us of the importance of developing a “healthy identity” at an early age.
Each aspect of myself, as an individual, mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, colleague, friend, student, Neighbour and nurse represents a contingency, a role, a play, a meaning.
Thoughts, feelings, opinions, moods.
Changes, aging, loss, wellbeing.
Years, months, moments, fleeting.
Snow, buds, bulbs, flowers, leaves, fungi, frost.
All in a day, a season, beginnings and endings.
Born, live, die.
Pain, delight, laughter, sorrow, despair, wonder.
Learning, stupid, shamed, proud and foolish. This is all me.
So, without self we would be lost. Or would we? Is self-overrated? Is it all a form of narcissism? Am I an individual? Does it matter?
In Buddhism “individual self” is considered as an illusion. The belief being that it’s not possible to separate self from its surroundings. In fact, the self needs to be deconstructed, because an individual identity causes nothing but trouble and disappointment.
Buddhist practice is to be aware only of the present.
Judgmental views fill my day. I find I reach to Buddhism to help clarify my chaos. But is that not also an attachment?
Self is a “battle” and a “baffling conundrum” that fills my head with confusion.
Self is actually very annoying!
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