The topic of non self or no soul is not exactly easy to grasp. This is because we are taught about identity since young, beginning with identification with our name.
The first simple mental habit to adopt in Buddhist practice, is to to remind ourselves that there is no little man or woman residing inside our body. In another word, no soul or a permanent identity that is temporarily living in our physical body.
In an almost scientific approach, we need to remind ourselves that the persona that we strongly identify with is nothing but a confusion of the mind that is confused by the senses. The senses are dependent on our body interacting with our environment. So if you raise an Asian kid in a western environment, that child will be westernized. Such persona is not the Truth of being.
If we practice meditation or mind training, the correct practice will lead us to examine inwards and discover this truth.
How we are what we believe we are, is just sensual conditioning from sensory input since we are born and also from previous existence.
For example, a baby that is being ignored versus a baby that is loved will develop differently.
A child surrounded by vice and violence and a child surrounded by goodness will develop differently.
Your relationships, work experience etc. They all contribute to the programming of this illusory self.
When we start to adopt an objective approach to dismantle our delusion of self, we would experience some benefits.
We reduce our fear that is associated with existence. Since the existence that we know of is an illusion, we reduce our fear of losing it.
That means a sense of relieve. No old age, no death, no fear, no suffering etc….. as written in the heart sutra.
It is a kind of liberation because we no longer identify with a being that is suffering.
I think I should stop here. Let’s just try this mental exercise for a while and see if we can gain some insights into ourselves.
Ask ourselves, what causes us to be who we believe we are.
May all be well and happy.
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