The small self and the big Self

What does it mean to lose your identification with the ego? To achieve oneness with the universe? To become enlightened? People sit and meditate for hours on end trying to reach this goal. But does anyone really even know what the goal looks like? What is meant with those words?

What other endeavor has a goal so vague and ill defined? Why can’t anyone clearly articulate what we are aiming for? I shall give it a go here. It’s not what you expect.

We’ve been taught from an early age that the world that we perceive is the base layer. Reality. It is made from stuff, from matter. But that stuff that we perceive is perceived in consciousness. In fact, everything that is perceived is perceived in consciousness. So why isn’t consciousness considered the base layer? There is nothing that we can know but through consciousness. If we were in the matrix and everything were a simulation how could we tell the difference? Stuff would just be rules in the matrix, you still couldn’t walk through walls, but not because there would be stuff there, it would simply be a rule in the matrix.

The patterns that are perceived in consciousness are being divided up into things by stories that we have made up (concepts). I have been going on at nauseum (on this blog) about how the divisions that we have made up are arbitrary and that in fact the pattern is indivisible. Furthermore, the self that we think we are is likewise poorly defined and an integral part of the pattern. All separation is through learned concepts. We just learn them at a very early age and are very much invested in them (the concepts) but that doesn’t make them true.

There is just consciousness and its content. And separating those two out is also impossible. What would consciousness be without its content? And what would content be without it being in consciousness. How would you even describe one if not in terms of the other. There is just one thing in the end. We just don’t have words to describe it. Because description depends upon the very same concepts that we are trying to point beyond.

Realizing this is what is called enlightenment. And you can get there through meditation, sort of. If you sit and meditate you can at some point find that the sensations in your body become a sort of buzzing or vibration that doesn’t feel like your body normally does. This happens when you have been keeping your attention on the breath, without conceptualizing in your mind, for long enough. It is as close as we can get to the pattern without applying concepts to it.

If you just perceive this buzzing sensation you are also not judging, which is just the application of concepts with some value attached to it (good or bad). That feels pretty nice (not judging). Normally, we then quickly cling to that feeling and we are back where we started. Conceptualizing, clinging to a new concept with some judgement thrown in and usually focusing on some discomfort because we have been on our arse for quite some time.

Most meditators think the nice feeling of not judging is the goal, but in fact the realization that the conceptualizing is the problem, is what we should be after. Enlightenment is not about a new nice feeling or a new identity as a meditator or a spiritual person, it is about the realization that consciousness is all there is. The pattern that is perceived is inherently indivisible and we are part of that pattern. The rest is just stories.

Another issue with meditation is that if you do it for long enough and get better and better at it, you will start to have sensations that are very different from what you are used to. Unless you have been on psychedelics, then you will have a pretty good idea of what those experiences are like. People usually start to pursue those states, thinking that more and stronger such states will bring them closer to enlightenment. Nope, they just get you deeper into an attachment to new concepts and away from the main insight. It is all just stories.

Not that I am against those states or their pursuit, I like a good trip myself. It is just not enlightenment. And your new attachment gets you further and further away from the realization you think you are after.

Realizing that no thing is real except as a pattern in consciousness may sound pretty underwhelming and in itself it is. Enlightenment is actually pretty boring. What it brings with it though, after you investigate a bit further, is pretty cool. Just not enlightenment.

Consciousness is all there is. You don’t have it, you appear in it, just like everything else. All separation between you and the rest is arbitrary, made up and not real. There seems to be just one consciousness. It cannot be perturbed. It is totally indifferent to stars exploding and your iPhone getting lost, or you being upset, having a bad hair day or dying.

Once you realize that the you that you think you are is an inseparable part of everything, it starts to seem more likely that there is a small you on every level. Every human, cow, bush, tree and mountain is part of the big You. Just with their own perspective or small you. In fact, You are all the yous. That’s the big Self, not the perspective of you as a human, but of You as consciousness containing the entire universe.

You my friend are God. You are the whole. You are the universe. The thing is you can’t take the human along for the ride. You have to let go of your attachment to the idea of you as a separate self and step into the idea of You as the ultimate Self. Or not of course because You don’t care. You just as happily destroy tiny yous as bring them into being. It is not at all important at any scale and it is all just a pattern in consciousness anyway. Importance is made up too.

But how the hell does that help the small self?!

It frees you up to take an entirely different perspective. Try this on for size. You are all the lives and all the things. There is an infinite supply of everything because even time and space are just concepts. You are a character in a video game and you can take life exactly as seriously. I try my best not to die when playing a video game and it is fun exactly because I take it (semi-)seriously, but I don’t mourn every death in Call of Duty. I spawn in again and start mowing down as many people as I can, only to gleefully die again minutes later.

Now imagine life as a game, with exactly that level of seriousness. How would you approach it? Would you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in a cubicle or flipping burgers at a McDonald’s? Fuck no! What would you do? I have no idea, that is up to you! But the reality is, you can already do whatever the hell you want. So why don’t you? Because of stories, stories that have been pumped into us since childhood.

Stories about jobs, responsibilities, money, countries, loads and loads of other nonsense. They all boil down to conditional love. We are only good enough if… No, you are God, you are good enough now, as you are. We don’t judge a mountain for being lazy, it is in fact really good at being a mountain. Perfect even. You are likewise perfect already. Stop trying to fill a hole that can’t be filled. Start expressing yourself. Because like a mountain you are unique. Explore that! Express it!

How? By not acting out what you think the world expects from you but by expressing your uniqueness. Follow your intuition. Open yourself to the universe and align yourself with the universe. Go with what it brings. Accept what is, because apparently You thought that was a good idea. Trust and don’t, whatever you do, take it seriously, or at least no more seriously than a video game. You are already all the other yous too.

The end.

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