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 Zen and no-self :          

on becoming nobody and being free         


                "This came about in the healing of the greater part of my personal pride and neurosis, which had seized hold of me as a young man- a young man who had built up an image of himself based upon what others had told him he was, but not what he really was, and therefore a young man who had grown up defending a mask he didnít know he was wearing but only knew the trauma of being identified improperly and who did not have the consciousness nor strength to correct the rampant error- so the neurosis had taken root and had created many an uncomfortable moment in my life and I had grown to believe it was something which must simply be endured, like chronic back pain, while one continued to shoulder the burdens of their imperfect existence.

                The truth, however, would make itself clear to me one rainy autumn day as I was wandering through the forest, back in the recuperative lap of the Charlottes, with the horde of inextinguishable monkeys still on my back and howling in delight at their impenetrable hold upon my flimsy countenance.

                On this trip I had been for weeks on end wrapped up in a tight ball inside, trying to figure out how to come to grips with myself, with life in the world, so as to make my peace, be myself, and get on with it. And so, as with all internal processes, the ugly sore would have to come to the surface and discharge its noxious puss eventually, as long as I was sedulous enough in my introverted gaze.

                What happened this time came decidedly and unexpectedly, out of left-field as it were, because I had thought, for some unknown reason, that the issue- of how to be myself- would be sorted out by my finally having a clear vision of who I was, and fully accepting it, and then marching back into the world with a new found confidence and aplomb the likes of which would be instantly recognized and revered by all those who had known me as the skulking worm I had occasionally been in the past. Oddly enough, however, the exact opposite happened. And lucky I was for that.

                What I mean is that instead of recognizing the exact somebody who had been living hidden and scared within me for the last many years, I recognized instead that ...I was nobody; I saw without a hint of doubt that I was not the identity or personality which I had been confused into believing I was- which was a somebody whom I had defended and acted as if it was me. I was not that personality. As a matter of fact, I was not a personality at all; not a unique, discernible package stuffed inside a figure of clay and then forced to justify itself to all the other clay figures who peered out through squirrelly eyes and into each other with judgement and condemnation. There was no such thing. I was the nobody self in the body of no one. It was unbelievably freeing. The walls which had never really existed, except in the distorted imagination of my mind, evaporated away and the self which was nobody within me leapt about like a bird who had just flown from its cage, for I, who had always been bound and determined to stay and defend myself at all costs ...I became nothing. No thing. And when that happens let me tell you- youíre in for one hell of a ride. ..."



Excerpted from IN, AND OF, by Jack Haas           




















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