What’s the value of a small self? (The self that thinks it’s separate from the Universe.)
Oh, I think many things!
A small self gets to play, to create, to sing an individual song, to dance a wild jig between squalling birth and sealed coffin.
A small self gets to experience Life from a seemingly separate viewpoint! How unique, to see Life from only one angle, one focused view.
A small self gets to discriminate between itself and others. How fun! (Except when it’s not.)
A small self gets to wear many different hats, if it likes, or travel to Peru in search of what it thinks it lost.
A small self gets to forget, for a moment, what it truly is.
A small self gets to like and dislike. It gets to think it can choose. And choose again, if it doesn’t like the first choice!
It gets to forget about loving everything. It can discern and judge and alienate and hate and adore and wallow in confusion. So many opportunities exist!
It can forget about unconditional love for a lifetime or six. The experience of a separate self is that it experiences other separate selves. And one can compare, endlessly, analyzing, trying to figure it all out. (And attempting to figure out things can be fun, I swear it.)
Separate selves get to decide who and what they love. For example, ice cream. A separate self can decide she likes ice cream better than chopped liver. Or that the guy down the road is the one she wants to marry & live with happily ever after. She gets to create concepts and beliefs. She gets to think she’s the boss, captain of her own ship, pilot of her own airplane, driver of her own bus.
And oh the stories one can create! A thousand novellas about this and that. A million dramas. One can stay awake all night long wondering how to resolve the latest crisis. It’s the kind of life that keeps the reader spellbound, trying to figure out whether good will win out over evil. A good book or play keeps us mesmerized, sometimes–if Life is in agreement–for an entire century.
A separate self gets to smoke cigarettes, drink bottles of wine, gamble at the casino. It can polish off an entire chocolate cake if it desires! It can judge itself as bad, oh you naughty devouring demon! It might even decide to improve its crazy uncontrolled desires and judgments. It can become a Mother Teresa! Oh, wait, that role’s taken. It may even become a villain, oh Snidely Whiplash, because all good stories need saints AND villains, better to keep the plot going. (We don’t want the audience to get bored with too much niceness, do we?)
Some of us also like the opportunity to try and become enlightened, to remember the wholeness that we’ve abandoned in our delight to see the world from a single view. We try to become an enlightened person, which creates its own drama, as the person can never become enlightened. (Enlightenment has always existed as the background of the separate self, sweet silly seeker, and it’s not something new to be attained…)
What do you like best about believing you are a separate self?
I think what I like the best–right now–is that it has been fun having adventures and telling stories. (However, the believing part seems to be getting a little tiresome at times in recent years…)