The self is a myth. We don’t really have one, but we spend most of our life posturing as though we did. We get upset when our ‘self’ is treated ‘worse’ than we believe it should be. We are happier when our ‘self’ is inflated into a better reputation. Then we get scared that our ‘self’ might lose it’s position in some league table of able or loved personalities.
What makes me say our self is a myth? Because I am going by the evidence. No one has shown me something that conclusively looks like a ‘self’, as separate from the world that surrounds it, or the mind that perceives it. As far as I can see, none of us can exist without the universe that surrounds us; and none of us can be seen to exist without an observing mind doing the seeing.
What does this mean for how we live? It means we can drop our pride – because there is no separate self to be proud of. It means we can drop our anger, because there is no separate self to defend against threat. We can live softly and easily, without worrying about loss, because if there is no separate self, then there is no inherently possessing being who can lose anything.
Does this mean that we don’t take care of our welfare of mind, body and spirit? Not at all. We can still take care of our health. But it does mean that we can do it lightly, without the intensity that leads to excessive anxiety. And it means that, being less attached to our own mythical ‘self’, we can care for others more easily.
So, just for today, we can drop our need to protect our ‘self’, or to maintain our ‘self image’. Yes, we can gently protect our social reputation if necessary. But we can look less in the mirror, and more outwards. We can participate in the universe without excessive pride, anger or self-defence. We can relax a little, and enjoy the flow of just being present and aware.