Is There a Self in Enlightenment?

There’s a deep and un-examined belief that perpetuates the myth of enlightenment: that the ego dies, and with it all emotion, all personality traits, and all personal history.

An enlightened being supposedly has no sense of self and no story, and therefore never talks about themselves, never uses the word “I” or “me” or “mine”, and never refers to “my life”. An enlightened being supposedly sees that the body and the world are an illusion, and therefore is unconcerned with physical well-being or worldly affairs, preferring to stick to the view that there is “no suffering” and so nothing needs to be done.

This image of enlightenment is a fantasy upheld by millennia of religious and patriarchal spiritual tradition .. and it also taps into our child-like need to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or Nirvana where bad things never happen and we are rewarded with endless peace.

If your allegiance is turned 100% towards the truth of awakeness, you will discover that this picture of enlightenment is indeed just a myth. You will discover that the human being continues to function, the personality continues to exist, the ego as a sense of “I’ that negotiates the 3-dimensional world is still intact .. but what is different now, is that all this bows down in service to awakeness.

So yes, in awakening there is a death .. the death of self-identity that is wrapped around ego. But there is also a birth .. the birth of a whole, integrated human being that includes both the surface sense of self as a separate entity – the self that is born and then dies – and the deeper layer of undifferentiated being-ness – the Self that was never born and can never die.

Copyright © 2014, Amoda Maa Jeevan. All rights reserved.

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