Separateness

 

When I wake up in the morning, I am immediately conscious of being myself, quite unique and distinct from everything else.

I am obviously separate from the bed I sleep on. I feel very separate from the birdcall outside my window and the sounds of traffic on the distant highway.

Extending further, I feel separate from my friends, my partner, my parents. In theory, I could feel separate from people outside “my” culture, “my” nationality, “my” religion. I can, in effect, feel divided from the rest of the world.

What emotions does the feeling of separation engender? I want to control everything in the world, and I am upset and angry if the rest of creation does not follow my wishes. As control is seldom possible, I seem to be setting myself up for frustration.

When I feel separate, I also look to “others” to fulfil me and give me happiness and pleasure. I depend on the other to complete me, having divided myself in the first place. This dependence keeps me on edge, keeps me hunting for what is in effect a fleeting sense of happiness and peace.

In all this complex chaos, it is important for us humans to explore the sense of being separate in the first place. The premise of meditation is that the sense of being a distinct individual is itself imaginary, a construct.

Watching the sense of the separate “me” closely, unswervingly, during the day, giving all our energy to observing its activities, might be the key to deconstructing the self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Separateness

  1. this false separation we feel from everything, including sometimes our own bodies, can so easily be manipulated to persuade us that our bodies and other people are mere commodities we can control in isolation from everything else. Thanks for this post – it articulates some of those thoughts I have been having better than I ever could.

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    1. Thank you for your comment 🙂 I think this sense of separation is one of the most important causes of sorrow in the human world. I hope we can share some thoughts on it! Thanks again.

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  2. “… through strong habituation
    I came to have in its regard a sense of ‘I’
    though, in itself, it is devoid of entity.
    And so why not identify
    everyone’s body, calling it “I”?
    – Shantideva

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      1. No, not at all! I was just expressing the nature of the challenge. Sorry for the ambiguity. By the way, I meant to ask if you knew any good Zen websites or blogs that you could recommend to me?

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      2. I’ve been searching for good Zen sites and blogs for a while now. I’m coming up empty handed. If you find any, let me know. I’m having no luck. I find several that call themselves Zen, but they’re all personal success or business blogs.

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