The destruction of what never existed
Syd Banks, the founder of the Three Principles said ‘Every individual is sitting in the midst of mental health. They just don’t realise it.’
Many teachers of non-duality would agree with this. Minds are made of pure consciousness. Witnessing and using concepts and psychological phenomena without being lost in the belief of them is ultimate mental health.
The ‘individual’ that sits in the midst of this ‘mental health’ is believed to be an entity, separate from other individuals and from the world around it, that has the power to decide and act independently. We believe this entity is what we are.
In other words, I, me, Clare, am the decision-maker, the controller, the experiencer. I choose what words are said or written. I am the doer. I make the actions happen. I am the command centre from which everything in this body emanates. I am (or I should be - and I can take a lifetime trying to be) in control of all my behaviours, emotions, thoughts, experiences and of what other people think of me and do in relation to me.
This is the model of the ‘separate self’.
And it is powerful. It is the basis on which our entire society, our collective belief system, our schools, our penal system, our offices and our healthcare is run.
At its core is the experience of a separate, independent, decision-making entity - the ‘me’.
To question this separate self in anyway looks not just ludicrous but also terrifying. It looks like any doubting of this independent decision maker would take us into the frightening territory of no free will, of passivity, of anarchy and blind destiny. It looks like the denial of responsibility. It looks like it threatens our very existence. With no self in control what is there? What am I?
But question it we must if this existence is to become sane.
Because it is just not possible that there is a separate self controlling anything.
The self of me has absolutely no clue how these hands are typing these words.
And the self idea of you has absolutely no clue of how reading is happening.
The mind can know the theory of it of course. The diagrams in an anatomy book. But how is it happening?
The self cannot make typing and listening happen. The self does not produce thought and send the energetic pulses around the brain and body to transform that thought into lines on a screen.
It does not translate the vibration in the hairs in the ear canal into meaning.
Thought, beliefs, experiences, behaviours are happening. And they are happening because that is the intricate learning of the brain and body. That is the conditioned set up. It is the programme that the unit is running on.
This entity, this separate, deciding ‘I’ is an illusion.
There is no such thing as a separate self.
There is no individual controlling self that is separate from others, from the outside world, from the intelligence of life. The individual and the others are both created from the same perceptual interpretations of a conditioned body-mind.
There is no objective and independent deciding and doing. All choices and all actions are governed by the subconscious realm of belief and learned responses.
Which is why many non-dual teachers and authors say that the realisation of mental health is unnecessary.
No individual, therefore, nothing happening to no one.
We could just stop there.
And yet there is something else to consider because this on-going experience of being separate is painful. There is intense suffering in the impossible task in which most of us are engaged: trying to find wholeness in separation.
The way reality appears is an on-going reflection of that search. It holds a mirror up to the internal fears, shames, insecurities and needs. Reality is a continual invitation to the Shift.
And the clearer this becomes, the more every experience is a gift of revelation, the more the experience of what we are aligns to the truth of what we are.
The exploration of truth is not an ego trip. It is not a means of separating we of superior knowledge from the unenlightened masses. It is not a way for us to feel special or unique or to find our life’s purpose.
It is the opposite. It is the destruction of everything we thought we were. It is the confrontation of everything that has been buried, hidden and unacknowledged.
It is the on-going revelation that the ego is made of layers of wounds that are becoming ready for healing. With the healing of each layer, the ego dissolves revealing the peace, bliss, freedom and sanity at the heart of existence. The healing shows the ego was never really there in the first place.
As Alan Watts said, 'The biggest ego trip is getting rid of your ego, and of course the joke of it all is that your ego does not exist.'
This is the paradox of our time.
How to return experience to the truth of what we are without the desire for alignment itself becoming the obstacle…