By Peter CutlerPeter Cutler
We can often see arguments on Facebook and other places about whether there is or is not a self and what all this means. There are arguments about everything, but spiritual posts frequently argue about this.
People are naturally confused by duality and this is completely natural. Why would you not be confused by delusion when you look at it seriously?
The mind will naturally be confused by a question like “Is there a self or not a self?” And it will be even more confused by an honest answer. “Neither. There is neither a self nor not a self AND there is both a self and not a self.”
There is neither a self nor not a self because both of these are merely concepts. Neither exists outside of the mind of thought. Both are illusions.
AND there is both a self and not a self because in the dream world of concepts anything can appear to be true even when it is not.
As long as you believe your thoughts you will live in an illusion you believe is reality. You will experience duality, confusion, conflict with other illusions and reality, and suffering.
Is there duality or non-duality?
Neither. There is neither duality nor non-duality. Both are illusions limited to the conceptual delusion of thought.
AND there is both duality and non-duality because in the dream world of concepts anything can appear to be true even when it is not.
Why are there so many spiritual teachings about non-self and non-duality?
Self and non-self, duality and non-duality are both extreme positions of conceptual illusion. Because most people are attached to one of the extreme positions: self and duality, spiritual teachers offer a medicine to help remove the extreme delusion of self and duality. The medicines to help remove the harmful and toxic illusion of self and duality that most people suffer under are non-self and non-duality.
In Buddhist terms, we call this using a thorn to remove another thorn. Once the thorn is removed we no longer need to cling to the thorn (medicine) we used to remove the first thorn. It’s done its work and we can let it go.
There remains a lot of teaching about the second thorn because most people have not yet experienced freedom from the first thorn (separate self and duality).
Until we have successfully removed the first thorn (self and duality), the second thorn (non-self and non-duality) should appear to be true and real. After the medicine has been successful and freedom from the first thorn (self and duality) has occurred, then we can let the second thorn go and realize that the second thorn too is illusion.
Arguing about which one is true is just the natural conflict that is part of attachment to the illusion of thought. Confusion about which one is true is also attachment to the illusion of thought.
Confusion is actually a higher and more open state of mind than confidence you know which one is true. Both are illusions. All thoughts are illusions. They are simply concepts, not reality. Reality is beyond all concepts and thus all thought.
Confusion can be the beginning stage of letting this and all concepts go and realizing reality which is always beyond all concepts.
A Zen monk, artist, author, and spiritual teacher Cutler helps people experience the awakened consciousness that is always available to everyone. For the past twenty years Peter’s openness to the Pure Energy beyond the limitations of thought and separation have helped hundreds of people directly experience the Pure Boundless Energy of their True Self through direct transmission or Shaktipat. In some cases people have experienced freedom from chronic physical illnesses, but far more profoundly dozens have awakened to their True Nature. We invite the community to welcome our latest addition to Sedona.biz, the Internet Voice of the Community. Please feel free to comment. Visit https://n-lightenment.com to learn more.