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.