I was in a contemplative state and pondering the self. What came to mind was the image of a donut. Then there was this spontaneous dissolving of the donut all the way around until nothing was left. No inside or outside.
When you think of a donut there is the circular rim of dough with a hole in the middle. This dough separates what exists inside and outside of the donut. The centre of the donut is the same essence as what is present outside the rim. Nothingness. The circular rim of dough I believe represented the protective shell of my ego. With mindfulness and insight the ego starts to dissolve allowing for the opportunity of connection between these two spaces. When the interface of the donut rim is gone the interior and exterior become unified. We remove the limiting boundaries of the ego that separates us from each other. This was the hole or opening to interconnectedness.
When we remove the limiting boundary of ego what is left? Who are we? Nothing! Just the emptiness and spaciousness of the hole in the centre of the donut.
I found the imagery and what it represented insightful and awe inspiring. I often bring to mind this image and allow that wisdom to inform me. My advice is to eat your way to holeness.
Jack Engler in the 1970’s said: “You need to be somebody before you are nobody.” He was commenting on the fact that there needs to be an intact sense of self before you start to take it apart. I would suggest that we look at it from the other direction. Our biggest problem is our self! We are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, successful enough etc. It all revolves around who we believe we are and the belief that we are flawed. Is this all we are? Are we more than our self? Who were we before we had a self?
Even without a self we are these wonderful humans with a tremendous potential. To be human is to be divine. The unbelievable capacity to connect with the world through our senses. The universal and egalitarian energy we all have that connects us. There is also the unique gift each one of us was given that calls to be lived through us. Whether it is artistic, dramatic, scientific, caring, athletic etc. One has self-worth because “you are, not who you are.” Unfortunately, this primal essence is obscured by the superimposition of a created self that masks everything else.
We need to look beyond the clouds of deception of our self to see what our true nature is. When your mind starts to criticize and judge you, remind yourself and connect back with this nobody you were before you were a somebody. Become the SELF you were before you were a self. This is not about ego dissolution but discovery of who you are beyond your story.
Our minds speak to us constantly and we listen. Who else would be talking to us. We accept without question what is said and react from that reference point. However, is this the truth of the moment? I lose my keys and become very angry with myself for being so careless. Is this all that is going on or is there something that is not being said but lives below the surface.
Growing up I learned the importance of “being perfect” in order to feel safe. Losing the keys triggered this belief of what it meant to feel unloved. What happens normally is that present moment experiences trigger historic memories of one’s perceived psychological unmet needs and perceived deficiencies. The truth of what is happening in the moment is buried below the superficial and current understanding of what has gone wrong. Beneath the mask of our sense of self hides our underlying truth. One needs to dig deeper and allow one to hear the unspoken truth from the source of one’s wounding.
When we get upset what do we do with it? Our normal reaction is to deny or run away from it. We build walls to protect ourselves from our pain. Experiential avoidance does not solve the problem. If anything, it may aggravate and prolong the issue as we never address what is happening. Mindfulness asks us to paradoxically approach our suffering. We need to become intimate with what we are experiencing with interest and curiosity. There can be no resistance but only openness. The only issue with engaging with our present moment experience is that we typically identify with our sense of self and own the pain and suffering of our identity. It is not that we create a sense of self that suffers, but we attach to it! We need to know what is happening but from the perspective of non-attachment with our sense of self. We need to rest in the awareness of mindfulness. It is a paradoxical relationship as we feel our experience but don’t own it. The essence of mindfulness is engaged non-attachment with self.
I send several email invitations and call a friend with no response. What is going on? Is my friend deliberately ignoring me? I am getting angry about what is happening. I finally reach them and blurt out my anger without any control or care. I find out that I was using the wrong email and my friend had been going through some recent trauma and didn’t respond. I felt upset that I had acted that way. Does this happen to you? Are you saying or doing something before you really think about it? Our minds are for most of the time not under our control. We autonomously, subconsciously and spontaneously reference every moment against the belief system of who we believe we are. We are constantly judging whether we are acting in a way that agrees or disagrees with our fixed beliefs. We often become aware after we have acted, often not in the most appropriate way. We are left with reviewing what we have done and trying to repair our unskillful behavior. Mindfulness is asking us to create a mindful pause and hopefully bring awareness to the intentionality of our action before we act. Can we make a wise choice at the point of being able to preview what we intend to do, rather than reviewing how we have already acted?