Not me, not mine

Winkletter  •  11 Jun 2024   •    

I did a bit of cleaning yesterday and emptied out three totes. Emptying just one tote wouldn’t have cleared up any new space, but the three totes can stack inside each other now, so I made progress. But the process to get there was tough as I discarded so many things I identified with. They represented old hobbies that just don’t fit in my life anymore. It felt like the last time I seriously cut my hair and snipped off my ponytail. I got this existential feeling of dread like I’ve just lost something important.

That’s why in Buddhist thought the correct term is “not self” not “no-self.” We’re always going through a process of deciding what is me and mine. Thanissaro Bikkhu points out how we will defend our sister one day from bullies because we see her as part of ourselves, but in the next moment when she is playing with our favorite toy, she becomes “not self.” So this idea of not self is not unusual or foreign to us. In research by Michael Levin, he found out that cancer can be rehabilitated to act like a normal cell if it can be taught to communicate once again with the rest of the body’s cells. Caner is not selfish—it just has a smaller sense of what self means. It starts to see the cells around itself as not self.

As I was discarding old parts of myself, I was literally telling myself, “This is not me, not mine.”


I like that mantra. Good practice.

jasonleow  •  11 Jun 2024, 10:18 pm

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