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Showing posts from October 29, 2013

self reflection

One of the most common explorations of spiritual practitioners is the search to uncover a 'true self,' hoping for an answer to the question "who am I?" It's the ongoing attempt to discover a lasting identity beneath all the behavioral masks we've worn in the crusade for social acceptance, adaptation and survival. An underlying personality that predates all the roles we've performed, the characteristics that developed over time. We may believe that if we can find what creates all the inner chatter, we can gain some control over ourselves.

Yet the Buddha taught that the pursuit for a true, unique self was a misguided and wasteful quest (for example, the Ananda Sutta, SN 44.1). Why? In attempting to define a "self," (as opposed to an "other") we inevitably wind up attaching to certain tendencies that provide a continuing sense of uniqueness, while excluding other traits that we may experience but don't deem personally ours. If I belie…