Your False Self (Your Personality Sucks)

Stop your wandering,
Look penetratingly into your inherent nature,
And, concentrating your spiritual energy,
Sit in meditation
And break through.
                                           ~ Bassui

Please read to the end to understand why this is important.

Zen and Buddhism in general often speak of the self, true-self, false-self, and some times of the no-self.  I have to admit that even after studying Zen for years it mostly leaves me confused.  Modern psychologist and new age gurus speak of the ego and how it isn't our deepest self.  Mostly I get it, but once again I've found it hard to wrap my"self" around the fact that that's not who I am. 

One of the easiest ways to begin to see this is to picture the last time you were really upset or angry.  Maybe you cussed up a storm and threw things.  Was that you?  I hope not.  That was an emotion and behavior.  Conclusion - we are not our emotions.

Last night while meditating at the Dharma Mountain Zen Center an analogy came to me.  Our personality or false self is much like our body.  When I go to the gym I am shaping and creating my body.  The foods that I ingest shape and form my body.  The sunshine, the air, the environment - they all shape my body.  It is "my" body but I am not my body.  In the same way the things that occur to me, the things that I experience, and how I react and handle these experiences all shape my personality.  This "me" is a collection of thoughts and emotions based upon beliefs.  It is not my true-self.

When one realizes that we (and our environment) have created this false-self, we realize that it is not what is holy in us and can be changed, disbanded, and ignored. 
Why is this important?  Because the tangled emotions, false beliefs, and crippling doubt that holds us back in life and causes us so much pain are within this "false self".  This is not our true nature. 

I have never experienced a state of no-self which enlightened masters speak of, but I have experienced what I call "true self" - a deeper sense of being in touch with the flow of life.  When I'm experiencing life at this level I feel connected to the source.  I feel more "alive" and grateful.  I don't know about you but I'll take that over the confusion and frustration of my ego any day.

Meditation can help us to separate our everyday experience from our tangled emotions and insecurities so that we may begin to enjoy the pure radiance of life as it is meant to be.  Below I've listed a few books that have helped me along the path.

p.s - I stole the intro poem from my friend David's post, Breaking Through,  this morning.  Please read it here.

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