What if there is no “me”, no separate self?

Larry Deeper Dive

The Direct Path of Vedanta philosophy is based on one’s experience. All truth is based on experiential knowledge. It takes courage to ask, “What do we know for certain?” “What is our actual experience?”  When we looking beyond what we have always assumed, there is the possibility of freeing ourselves from the assumptions that constrict and restrain our unbounded spirit.

Let’s look at the central assumption that ‘behind our eyes’ lies an intelligence that we learn by the age of 2 or 3 to call “me”. What if that sense of me as a separate self is not something we can find? When we look beyond assumptions and ask, is there something in my experience, any thing called a “separate self”?  If we are able to suspend the cultural assumption and look into our experience, we might try on this statement: “There is not any objective thing in my experience that I can call “a self”. There is only the experience of thoughts, feelings, perceptions and sensations.

Wow. If we can really look and have a feeling understanding that there is not an entity inside my body called a “me” or “self”, then that opens the possibility of disentangling ourselves from the idea of a me.

Let’s stop a moment and let this register: What if, at every moment of our experience, we are acting on behalf of a non-existent entity?

That would be something monumental and indeed, life changing.

It is my experience that once I had this felt understanding that there is only sensing, thinking and perceiving – and not a “me” sensing, thinking and perceiving – then the mind quiets, for it has no agenda and nothing to defend. The “I” that I am is not an entity, not a thing but a process, a verb, a “being aware” and a knowing.  “I” is the language placeholder for the awareness that I am, and that awareness has the quality of being and knowing.

Now consider the state of the world. Is our world not out of kilter for the very fact that we are acting upon a “me entity” that has its beliefs, points of view, posturing and strategizing for status and power? And if there is not really any “me entity”, then we are free to create a world beyond thoughts – points of view and defensive posturing among other thoughts – that travel through our awareness.

Once we are free of the idea of a me, we are free to live beyond our beliefs. The head sinks into the heart and we relax into the unity experience of sensing, perceiving and feeling without the agenda and seeming needs of a “me”.