No separate self



So you know how non-dual folks say things like “There is no separate self” and our separate selves wrinkle our noses and try to figure it out logically?  We puzzle and fuss and kick up some dirt and attempt to rationalize what the heck that sentence means.

Then some of our minds set to the task of not only figuring this out–but applying it!  Thus we attempt to figure out how to fix our separate selves and spend the next sixteen years tweaking and changing and attempting to make our separate selves less separate.

Oh-my-goodness, it’s an endless merry-go-round!  (One should not say anything about non-duality to our separate self for so many of us will rush in with ego’s tools to create the latest desire: a non-separate self.)

Seventeen teachers from every walk of existence have uttered:  “It’s not about fixing the separate self” and I would read and hear that sentence and think “Yep, you’re right.  No, you’re wrong.  Yep, you may have a point. Forget you–I HAVE to fix all my compulsions and cravings asap!”

Depending on the day, month or year I would listen respectfully and agree, or assertively and disagree.

The mind continued its agenda of attempting to fix and heal and la-de-da, all the while seemingly knowing, “There is no separate self”.

We all know it’s one thing for the mind to understand non-separation.  (Or think it understands.)  It’s another thing entirely when the understanding hits the little toe.  When it arrives at the gall bladder.  When it informs your next step toward the kitchen, or bathroom, or computer.

When the literal understanding–there is no separate self--finally begins to penetrate through one’s thick skull.  (Some of our skulls may be thicker than others.  Mine has been particularly thick.)


This is huge, folks.  (Hey, there’s no separate YOU, either!)

The minute you type that sentence you see how ridiculous it is.  How the separate self will try to create a new reality from that assertion. A new rigid belief in non-separation.  Or it will fight with it.  How it will attempt to figure it out.  How it will pour the living reality of twinkling movement into a cemented belief and attempt to live from that instead of the twinkles.

And how OK that is!  Because it’s just Life doing what it does.  Life is doing what it does!  (I have typed this sentence eighteen times in the last decade and barely understood it, even though the mind had it wrapped up in Christmas paper ready to eagerly deliver to the next seemingly separate self.  Heck, my separate self may not understand it tomorrow.  And that’s OK!  Because it’s not about you and me.  It’s about us.  And we are the ocean, the Universe, the spinning planets and the tiniest ant crawling beneath sneakers.)  We are about life twinkling and moving and flowing and singing itself into apparently separate shapes when it’s really an unbroken whole, an infinite unspeakable mystery.

This heart is singing in delight and it may be crying in frustration with total by 10 a.m. and it’s all OK–because it’s not what/who I am.



11 thoughts on “No separate self

  1. “It’s not who/what I am” — And because the separate self is not separate, it is indeed who I am, and what Life is creating deliberately and delightedly, moment to moment to moment, and it is as fully real as everything else. Just, under a few veils of forgetfulness which Life is creating anew each moment. Because It can.
    That little pill of insight by the separate sense of self implodes my mind completely.

    Love you, Kathy, love your words and believe me, the uplifting effect which feels so good and therefore is valued by this Unique Self, goes far beyond the words. Life is grateful to Life, separate and “nondual,” LOL! Life hugs Life, in cyberspace! (((Kathy)))

    • Hello my friend. My mind keeps rushing in to try to explain this (to itself) and then it keeps disappearing to reveal again what’s Here. I feel like a small child with little understanding or explanations. I keep going back to yesterday’s understanding and try to explain it with today’s knowing and then it all collapses back to THIS again. I think I understand what you’re expressing about the separate self and Life’s deliberate and delightful expression. And–wow–the amazement of the fullness of that realization. Anyway, feeling less able to pull this together into any meaningful response so will just feel your love and enthusiasm and smile a lot.

  2. Dear Kathy, Alia and Val:

    THANK YOU for sharing about the “non-dual” concept, or the non-dual reality, or the realization and the belief it ultimately is all ONE and includes everything, is bigger than my body, bigger than my environment and lives beyond time and space. – This week I listened to the daily satsangs of Mooji in Rishikesh, an annual event, that has the “non-dual” topic at the center: Folks walking up to the microphone, and interacting with Mooji, who is considered awakened and teaches those that engage with him to live in the same Love, the same ultimate Unity, as divine beings, or if you prefer, Beings ;-)…………..yes, there is an ever growing number of advaita teachers out there, pointing and guiding, some offering living testimony to trespassing that divide between the illusion and the truth. – And Kathy, in your response to Alia, I really enjoyed that sense of how the experience continually evolves, where new metaphors and images, sensations and realizations replace those that were on our mind’s stage just yesterday.

    This quote from Nisargadatta hit my inbox this morning: “We do not need to search to find our True Being. We already are it. And the mind that searches for it is the very reason we cannot find it.”

    There is so much to say, ………………….or, second guessing what I just said: “Is there really”. Perhaps there is so much to experience, and so little to say. In my life, words have been a lifeline of sorts to connect with others, hence that obsession to translate experience into language, and sharing it with others to connect……… if we weren’t connected already before I even started to make a point, share an experience or push some assertion about a belief that seems especially powerful to me on a certain day.

    And all this while there is this nagging clock ticking, reminding me of all the chores that are stacked up and wait to be addressed, completed…………….so there you have it: Lovely to engage in this forum and meet you both!


    • Hi Peter! I have listened to Mooji in the past. And am nodding in agreement to the quote from Nisargadatta. So true. And yet, it seems sometimes we must search. (And is it us that is searching? Or the Universe itself seeming to search?)

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts here. The thoughts of life coming forth through a seemingly separate you! As for experience continually evolving, I find a complete new moment coming forth and that feeling of tender vulnerability of not-knowing. My son called to say he had been robbed. I found myself crying with true compassion. Two hours later it felt like simply another movement into the next moment. What’s next? How will the Universe react through us? Gosh, can we ever know?

  3. thanks for your response………………..offering an opportunity to peek into your world, and what is alive in you. When it gets to knowing, I hesitate, as so many things I once had such a strong opinion about, have now softened, to the point of an experience of “ah, yes, that is another way of looking at this”……………as for the searching: Another body of knowledge, or believe system, known as “the law of attraction” suggested in my universe about 25 years ago: “Searching” implies not having, and so if the law of attraction was true, the act of searching could get in the way of finding. I have no evidence, nor do I feel an impulse to defend the Nisartatta quote stated above………….it simply resonates with me in ways that causes goosebumps, as in “yeah…………………”…………….and showing up on a platform such as this one gives me an opportunity to hone my skill in using language to report from “where I live spiritually”. Don’t really know the ultimate answers, just notice more and more the forces of attraction and repulsion, the likes and dislikes, and the mental activity that wants to report on the experiences, and then often draws consequences and forms beliefs. More recently, there is increasing clarity that those beliefs are mostly concepts, ideas, things that I was told and taught…………so for the sake of what you mention above, that life itself could be viewed as a search, I’d say my search is to re-connect with the source from where I created myself. Lately the notion keeps arising that perhaps, that source that I have been looking for, is the very, hm. what-shall-we-call-it………………source is expressing itself through the me that is form, and the mind living in this form “Peter” can’t help but being source. Get’s a bit tricky there with words………………

    As for “can we ever know”………….I certainly wouldn’t know 😉

  4. The part of me that likes to rationalize, rationalizes this way … The One comes into this form blinded about oneness purposely, as an adventure to experience duality even though there is no duality. Hah. Try to make sense out of that one. 😉

    • Lori, don’t you love that every time the rational mind tries to express anything about non-duality it has to use dual words and thus erases itself?!! Or it runs around in a circle trying to say everything and nothing in one paragraph that it’s like hitting alt-control-delete!

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