No-Self Love: When the Self Drops Away.
A lot’s been said about self-love. For women, in whom not-enough-ness, wrongness, shame and blame have been inculcated, it’s true that it’s a matter of urgency to find a way first to actually notice ourselves as subjects, then give ourselves permission to exist, to respect, accept and love ourselves rather than doing all we can to receive permission to exist from others.
That said, there’s another kind of love. It’s always available. It’s the kind of love that is felt when you sit down to meditate and place your hands on your heart. This love is what you feel when you let go of all the structures not only of who you are supposed to be, but of who you are.
The little you, the person with a history, the person who was born and will die, she is very important and in need of love, but she’s not all there is, and in certain moments, she disappears.
According to Buddhist philosophy and practice, thinking that we are or have a self, a thing we can identify with and rely on, a fixed point in the flux of time and space, is an illusion, and more than that, it’s the primary cause of all human suffering.
Yes, the primary cause. Thinking that you are a lasting, solid thing, when this is not ultimately the way things are, causes suffering. Trying to make things other than what they are causes endless stress and pain. Fighting against and denying death, birth, illness, loss, it makes these human experiences full of suffering, when they don’t have to be.
So, if you can let go of that illusion and stop trying to fix yourself into a thing, does that leave you with nothing? This can sound scary to the mind. It can also sound weird, abstract, mind-bending for the sake of it. No-self has negation in it. It doesn’t sound as full or as juicy as self.
But it doesn’t actually feel scary when the self drops away (unless you’re having a psychotic or traumatic experience), it doesn’t feel abstract or weird either, because coming back to what’s true is a relief. You’re finally in agreement with what has always been the case anyway.
And it feels good because there’s something in that very energy, when you sit and meditate and it all drops away for a second — there may seem to be no particular reason for this, but it feels like love.
A beautiful relief, then, this no-self love, which extends, from your feeling of it in your body, infinitely outwards, because there’s no separation. The self was the thing that separated you from all that exists. All that isolation now melts away.
No-self stops being a dry, intellectual concept to get your head around. It stops being a separate idea.
And words also stop. It really feels like love.
Sarah Luczaj (PhD) is a counselor/therapist, Reiki master, writer, poet, originator of the Creative Regeneration process (which brings together meditation, focusing, free-writing and intuitive painting) and co-founder of the terrealuma healing refuge, on a wild and secluded permaculture farm. She facilitates Creative Regeneration in various ways, from live group sessions, through month-long online courses, to 6-month intensive one-to-one activations, to get people plugged back into their natural state of bliss and power. Sarah is mainly based in Glasgow, and has two daughters.