Self and Non-self
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Self is commonly capitalized in yoga philosophy and there is an important reason why: Typical use of the word self; myself, yourself, ourselves, etc is the laymen's way of identifying something as "I", "me", or "mine". It is useful in the sense of everyday exchanges and definitions of ownership when speaking to others, but it causes huge problems for our spiritual well being if we are not wise to it’s psychological impact. Lower case self is essentially ego. In Buddhist philosophy, there is no self. There is nothing special about conscious things that feel, think, and are aware. We are all a part of nature and can not own or be entirely to blame for anything as our existence is interdependent on everything around us. Even our bodies and minds are not ours. Buddhists have no personified god and do not speak of an eternal soul, only the laws of nature, the impermanence of everything within nature, and the concept of non-self. In Yoga Philosophy, there is also no (lower case) self. The body and the mind are not who we are, just collections of food/earth and mental impressions we’ve gathered over a lifetime. So the big question: what is (upper case) Self? Self is not individually owned. Self is collective. It is the energy that makes us all aware, the same energy that is responsible for everything. It cannot be created, nor destroyed, only changed. Self is this energy and the very laws of nature that create consciousness from it. This Self pervades all things and is essential for all things to be. self is ego Self is universal. To discover true universal Self, is to understand there is no self, and to observe the creative force that has given rise to consciousness in body, mind, and spirit. Through movement, we make the body resilient, so that we may penetrate through our physicality. Through mindfulness, we still the mind, so we may penetrate through our mentality. Through experience, we observe nature, and connect with universal Self. This is discovery of true Self, the end of suffering.
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