Consider the baby.
From birth up until the age of about 16 months,
there is little sense of a self
separate from the world.
By the age of 24 months,
the sense of a separate individual
seems more or less universally in place.
What a difference a self makes !
What are the two words that appear at/around that time
as the sense of separation is developed ?
( Parents do not need to read the next sentence)
The words are “I” and “no”.
Where does the separation come from ? Language acquisition.
Seamless, continuous, unitary.
There is no real boundary
to be found in any of it.
How to refer to an aspect,
a corner of the vastness
streaming in and out constantly ?
Language allows reference to a single part
or aspect of experience, so that the reference may be shared.
This capacity to refer comes at a price.
Unitary, seamless experience
is fractured into thousands of shards,
each with its own label.
And if there is a label for “other” ,
there must also be a label for “not-other”,
Thus, “I” comes into existence,
almost 2 years after we are born. I
it’s no coincidence that the “terrible twos”
follow shortly thereafter.
“I” does have practical utility.
You (over here) don’t put your hand on the hot stove (over there). You (over here) leave your little brother alone (over there).
It’s easier to teach kids practical matters through duality.
But the label becomes mistaken for reality.
And the label-maker has named itself “me”.
As the child grows older,
the mistaken identity is reinforced
by school, b
by political groups
and by religions.
It all points in one direction – you are separate.
In a group, we are separate.
The mistaken identity remains
unsuspected, unexamined, unseen.
So, if there were no consequences
from imagining “me” into existence every day,
there would be no mid-life crisis,
no search for meaning,
no existential suffering,
no wondering where do “I” fit in ?
There would be no religions,
no worry for the future,
no family quarrels,
no aggression by governments,
no nuclear weapons,
no practice to know the truth of one’s nature,
and no Awakening.
But all of those things exist,
all from the construction of imagined “me”,
to the seeing through of the imagined “me”,
and realizing that the “me” was never really there,
any more than a dream is ever there.
The dream of “me” starts with an innocent mistake,
ends with a single, clear, direct look at the dream character,
and for all the story of suffering
between the invention and the dissolution of the “me”,
the “me” never acquires a single atom’s worth of reality
more than it started with.
Step out of the dream.
Find out what real freedom is.
It’s easier than your “me” wants you to think ….
For a more along this line, I suggest:
Thanks to this site for the baby pic: http://www.baby-connect.com/