No-Self: The First Step Towards You
Updated: Sep 4
In this post I would like to talk about one of the first realization that you might have by doing this work: the realization that there is no one behind the eyes.
"What if the subject of all experiences,
you, is literally no one, nothing at all?"
The journey of awakening is a personal path. No one can really predict what you might become aware of and definitely there are no real maps that you can follow to realize your true nature. As I said many times, awakening deals with something that cannot be proven by external evidences, with something that cannot be measured and quantified, with something that cannot be pointed. Only you will know that something has happened, only you can prove to yourself that a profound shift has occurred within you. Others will only be able to witness how you, as a human, have changed the way you walk through life as an expression and alignment of these realizations.
Said so, I can personally affirm that having some pointers to guide you through this journey can help you enormously in avoiding useless suffering and wrong assumptions that are present in this journey. Nowadays many different sources are available out there and through my personal experience I have realized that some people have no idea what this journey truly entails, creating only confusion, misunderstanding and false expectations. Only the people that actually have bothered to do the work can be aware of the many traps this work includes and even by doing so, no one is never immune to possible deceptions.
There are many different nuances that can be experienced during this journey and in my personal experience the first one was the realization of no-self. By saying that there is no-self means that whatever self you think to be is a misconception, an illusion, a wrong interpretation of what is actually happening right now. It means that the subject experiencing the world, what you call "you", is not the real subject. You might think to be a physical human, you might think to be a man or a woman, you might think to be a soul, you might think to be an agglomerate of cells, you might think to be a ball of energy, you might think to be an invisible entity behind the eyes.
Whatever you are currently identifying with, whatever you think to be it is not what you are. The self you are currently identifying with is relative and therefore only true in respect to what you think to be.
At the moment most of people are identified with what it seems to exist from a certain perspective rather than what it actually exists. It is as if the ocean forgot to be water and started identifying itself with a wave: from this perspective the ocean believes that it was born and that one day it will die but it is a wrong assumption created by looking from a limited perspective. If the wave could look within itself, it would find simply water that extends forever without taking any particular shape. It is as if the canvas forgot to be pure and white and started to identifying with the colors poured on it: from this perspective the colors recently painted are bright and glowing but sooner or later they will fade away. If each color could look within itself, it would find simply a white canvas that has no particular feature in itself.
These are of course simply metaphors but they point to something that is possible to grasp if also you, as a human, look within you and discover what you are actually made out of. Only by doing this inner movement, you current limited perspective that makes you believe that you were born and that you will die, that you are a physical human being, will turn out to be wrong assumptions, illusions. Literally.
I really want to stress that this movement that I am inviting you to do points to something that is possible to realize directly by anyone. It does not require years of meditation practice. It does not require learning special techniques or being exposed to secret information hidden in some holy book. It does not require you to fast for 40 days or having some Kundalini experience. It does not require you to be mobilized in any particular yoga posture and it has nothing to do with the opening of any chakra. It does not even require to shut your mind down for few second. All these techniques can be useful for further realizations, not for this one.
So if your commitment into this work has valid reasons and if you really want to change your life in a radical and profound way, I believe that this first small step should be your number one goal from now on.
This very first point represents the most natural and, I believe, fundamental step toward something much bigger to realize. To personally realize this single point, you simply need to give yourself few minutes and stay open to the possibility that what you think to be might be just a movement of what you actually are. I therefore invite you not to consider the following questions as something ridiculous or non-sense but as something that you have probably overlooked for too long.
Question: "Are you alive?". Answer.
Question: "Are you conscious?". Answer.
Question: "Do you exist?". Answer.
You have probably gone through these 3 questions fast enough to not giving sufficient attention to some important details. Re-read each question slowly and be aware of everything you can while doing it: the sound of your voice reading the question, the sight of the words on the screen and any possible "sound" coming from your mind chatting. This last point is important: be aware of the chattering in your head, be able to track and identify it.
Now answer to each question slowly and tell me who is answering? Is it you or something that you are aware of? Is it you or is it a thought? Is it you or a movement coming from you? These rhetoric questions have the only purpose to make you realize that what you think to be is a concept, a thought, a movement that became so close to what you actually are that you are taking it as your identity. You need to literally observe the answers you give and realize that these answers are known, they are traceable in their appearance and disappearance. If you can point them out they cannot be you, right? You are the one that can point them. Can you find it? Try to redo the exercise and discover the witness or observer at the same time you answer.
Watch out: any mind chattering, any thought, any movement of mind that is going to arise in your head to give any justification why this exercise is non-sense, it is again something that can be observed and witnessed by you. Your worst enemy is what you think to be, what you are currently identifying with. You are that which is aware of these movements.
Once you have finally "identified" you, the witness, you need to get to know to yourself. It is like getting in touch with an old friend you have lost track of and now is time to catch up again. Before this realization you thought to be something that just turned out not to be the case. The old identity had some features, some qualities that you were ascribed to yourself. Now, that you have discovered to be someone else, you need to find your new features.
Only when it is crystal clear that what you think to be is actually witnessed by you, consider these points:
"By which colors are you made out of?"
"Describe your shape. Which shapes have you?"
"Are you locate in a any specific region of the body?"
"Write down 3 qualities that describe you"
"How tall are you?"
"How much do you weight?"
"Is there anything happening right now where your presence is not required?"
"Can you forget or not being aware of something?"
Again, watch out: any mind chattering, any thought, any movement of mind that is going to arise in your head to give any justification why this exercise is non sense, it is again something that can be observed and witnessed by you.
I will not answer to these questions to let you contemplate on it over and over (and over) at any time you can: sitting in the toilet, taking a shower, drinking your tea, eating your meal, talking to your friend and so on. Resist from taking your phone with you to check some juicy news present on Facebook. it is a waste of your time. It will not change your life. It will simply keep you unconscious. Invest instead these minutes to tackle these questions. We are talking about you, and it is likely that you have no idea of who you are.
This should be the number one activity of your day: knowing who the hell you are to be able to know on behalf of who you are doing whatever you are doing and to fully know your potential.
Do you realize that discovering who you are at the existential level means to realize what other human beings are, what other sentient creatures are and in general what reality is? Is it not sensible to assume that the "thing" of which you are made out of is probably also the substance that composes the all Universe, no? Would not be interesting to know that there is the possibility in this right moment to realize that you are that substance? That you are the substance of which other human beings, animals, plants, stars and the whole reality is made out of? Would not be cool to open up to the possibility that this realization is not a simple intellectual game to memorize but it represents the possibility to change your life concretely?
This first step is what will make you hold reality in a completely different way. It is what will make you discover the magic of life. (Spoiler Alert). Doing this work will make you realize that there is literally no one behind the eyes that is looking at the world. That what you thought to be was simply an idea, a concept, a movement that can be observed and witnessed by you, whatever you are.
Have you ever stopped for a second thinking that what you think to be is just a thought and it does not represent at all what you actually are?
This first important realization can be called No-Self.
Most of you that are reading these post know me directly, so do not hesitate to contact me in case you want to clarify any particular point, either on Facebook or via email (present in the blog).
Thanks for reading!