What is this you/no-you, self/no-self thing about, anyway ?
For instance, who ate granola and yogurt for breakfast ?If it were someone else, wouldn’t I be hungry ?
The “I” which anticipates the future, imagining itself as a little time-traveler, traveling away from past events, toward future events, trapped in a sort of fleshy time machine called “my body”, that’s the fiction. An invented “I” character.
Is there any other kind of I ? Yes, certainly. If anyone ever reads this, and if they have any background in philosophy, they could probably come up with a few formulations of I. And in a way, they would be just as valid as any other formulation, as far as formulations go.
There’s a difference, though.
This no-self thing is not a theory. Nor is it a belief.
What we are talking about is nothing less than an abrupt psychological shift away from identifying with a fictional character we have been letting write stories for us, for most of this life.
The no-self thing is a radical shift of view. Toward reality.
The results of the shift include a sharp reduction of a variety of disturbing mental and emotional states, all associated with the “I”- want/ “I”- need-things-to-be/not-be-a-certain-way-before-“I”-can-ever-really-be-happy story.
The common denominator in this awakening business revolves around the lack of a central reference to which mental states get stuck.
Worry, for instance, has difficulty finding purchase when no worrier is held in mind. Worry is also hard to maintain when there is little sense of a future self.
Does this mean that we stop paying insurance, saving for the kid’s education, etc. ? No, practical things can easily be carried out.
So what about the granola and yogurt ? What happened ? Eating happened here, and so hunger is not happening here. There is no more story than that, just doing. That’s all.
So, if there are preferences, isn’t there still a self ? Not necessarily. Conditioned responses arise, they just are not knee-jerk events anymore.
The insistence of a conditioned response is very much weakened, so that a sense of spaciousness exists before and behind the conditioning.
Way more interesting to experience than it is to try to describe !