Tao of Dealing with Separate Self

In the study of Zen and Tao, I attend classes about spiritual and religious philosophies. Quite often I run into the “If I do this, I will get that, marketplace bargaining.”

In one class, we were looking at material on the hindrances that are a part of the Buddhist belief. My question to the class was “Hindrances to what?” If I seek resolution about something that is causing resistance by hindering me from something else, it means that I have an expectation that if the hindrance disappears, I will achieve whatever the hindrance was in the way of accomplishing. It’s the “If I do this, and get rid of that, I will achieve this” mentality.  It may be hidden by the title of Buddhist studies, but it’s still an ego function, and a path to increased expectation of an improved future “I.”

It’s one of those strange “splits” that occur in any belief system that says there is no self, no separate self, but then constantly creates dogma that requires a doer of deeds in order to achieve a goal. For me, that only two states are being in proximity of breath and body, or what is termed presence. Or, being absorbed by the stream of thought, the idea world. One is not better than the other, but the only place I can see the bio/psycho/emotive process called Bryan is in attention to exactly where I am in space and time. I then decide what needs to be done. Everything I am is manifesting in these moments, judging that, or applying labels is not helpful. For me, deciding what needs to be done next or what I might rather do in presence is the only actionable stance possible. Everything else is a story.

Take care of you and all you love,

Bryan Wagner

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