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Me? Who? – 2


Here is what I think about the story in Me? Who? – part 1.

No quest of spirituality is complete without quest in ego. By questioning the validity of this “me”, the teacher sets the person on this path of introspection. One day the person finds that there is no “me”.

In his book “The Way Of Zen”, Alan Watts gives an excellent analogy to explain the relation between me, the ego and the universe. This is what he says (kind of)

“The cells of our body are constantly dying and new cells are being formed. The food that we eat comes from environment and goes back into environment. The thoughts enter our mind and leave our mind. In essence, out identity is not a physical entity. Rather it is just a pattern the way cells organize themselves and thoughts process themselves. This is no different that a whirlpool in water. The water molecules constantly enter the whirlpool and exit it. Whirlpool does not own the water molecules. Rather it is a pattern in which the water molecules arrange themselves for a while. At the end of life of whirlpool, it goes back into the water by all means.”

Like it or not, we are all just whirlpools in this universe. Like it or not, you are just a pattern, just a way body cells and thoughts and beliefs are organized. Once you rotate enough, you will go back in your environment.

You have convinced yourself of a valid entity called ego which keeps everything in check and controls everything. But like it or not. There is nobody inside you. Your core is hollow. There is nobody who is in charge of your personality. You are just an arrangement, where one desire taking over after another, one cell of body taking place of another. “You” are a mere convention, rather than physical entity.

5 Responses

  1. So what we should understand from this? Noone is responsible for their actions, just blame it on creation? I think this is a wrong teaching.

  2. What exactly you mean by “me” or “the one responsible”?
    Since physical cells don’t stick around forever, it can’t be bldy. Since thoughts don’t stick around and are affected by thousands of other things, it can’t be thoughts either? Neural connections? Behaviour patterns?
    There is nothing you can peg on and say “This is same from birth to death. So this must be the core of person.
    Do we need and objective and a command-control structure that keeps us focused towards the objective? What happens if we don’t have one or both? Will we just keep on acting on our whims and go into downward spiral and end up miserable?
    My answer is no. Even if you are suddenly convinced by reading my post and tomorrow start acting on your whims entirely, a few days later you will exhaust the force of your whims and you will be back to controlling yourself, by using some new structure.
    In long course of time, you will keep alternating.
    And in very long course of time, you will end up at a place far different than you would be with your command-control module. But you will still be equally happy.
    Even assuming that you have a valid command and control structure. If you are not responsible for creating your own ego the way it is, then are you responsible for the actions of this ego?
    Should you accept of reject responsibility? I don’t know.
    Should there be an awakening? Yes.

  3. But where’s responsibility? What about trust, honestly, reliability, loyalty, etc? These things actually mean that we can’t act on our whims but we should be aware of our actions and understand what is right or wrong. But now this all is cancelled because someone said that it’s just meaningless, non-existent?
    Well but how come that everything in the world is changeable and unstable in nature and only this philosophy is valid and true? What is awakening if your thoughts are living just by themselves? And who or what should awake if there’s even no “me”?

  4. When the astronomers used to think earth is flat, they had lot of problem determining motions of celestial bodies. So they ditched the assumption and said earth must be round. When they still had problems in calculating planetary motions, Copernicus helped ditch the second assumption that earth is center of universe. Still some more problems were observed in movement of galaxies and stuff, so Einstein pulled the final rug under the feet of science and said “There is nothing absolute on which you can rest on. Everything just moves relative to one another.” Still science floated. It did not fall down, in fact it ventured into dimensions not known before.

    Almost solved the puzzle of material universe, yet we live in a primitive understanding of our emotional universe. We still see ego as absolute solid flat background where “Life” takes place, where up is good and down is evil. We have understood that without any support earth can hang in space. So why insist on necessity of moral forces to stop ego from falling into abyss of hell?

    Perhaps the problem is less with the way we define ego and more with the way we define relationship between the universe and ego. Ego is neither solid flat background, nor center of emotional universe (or universal emotion) , and not absolute invariant with respect to which the rest of the universe can be analyzed.

    Zen is to moral science what theory of relativity is to modern physics. It does not invalidate motion, it invalidates absoluteness. It seems counter-intuitive at first, but on inspection you will find problem in your intuition, in your incessant need of context to explain experience.

    May be the perception of ego (and its relationship with universe) as we carry currently is an illusion, but the experience is not. As somebody has said “Universe is an illusion not in sense, but in significance.”

    Experience is reality. You live with your set of objectives( desires) in a context (civilization). The values and qualities which you have listed, when present , will expedite (in most cases) the forming of pure perception, which is free from all desires and all contexts and all abstractions and all blockades. The values will help you transcend the context and the objectives and will render themselves useless beyond that.

    Exactly the same way, after a certain point, every word of even this philosophy is useless to you. When your eyes roam over this text and you are open to the possibility that these are nothing but meaningless lines and curves and dots, that’s the time you would have really got it. Beyond a point, it must be an experience, not an understanding.

    Awakening is complete emptiness of notions. However, far from stale monotony it may sound like, it is limitless freedom. Because being nothing is same as being everything.

    Your last and most important question. Who should awaken? Nobody. Awakening is not an accomplishment of self. It is not something that can be exploited for some purpose. It’s just a natural state.

    You are awakened when you are open to the possibility that “you” are just a dream, just one of countless possibilities of looking at the present moment.

  5. In our universe, movement and speed are determined when one thing is related or compared to something else. Before the comparison, whatever we are observing is neither fast or slow, close or distant. When I attempt to make that comparison or relation, in my perception its changed. I’ve categorized or organized it as something.

    Similarly, my struggles and suffering is created by comparison. If I choose to make a comparison between myself and someone else, my own perception categorizes and organizes each of us. If I choose not to make the comparison, then each of us is just each of us.

    I recognize the complexity of everything each of you offer in your comments and postings. I appreciate everything you offer. If there is no real ‘me’, I would guess that it’s just physical manifestation of energy interacting in a whirlpool.

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