Those engaged with trying to realise or see the illusion of self are often no strangers to frustration. So many apparent contradictions arise. This ‘path’ is full of them. We can easily and quickly lose sight that the truth is simple – so simple; just what is here, in this moment right now.
But how should we look in order to see clearly the self is an illusion? Let’s look at another familiar childhood delusion to use as an example:
Suppose you’re six years old and you believe in Santa. The evidence for there being a Santa is all around: everyone says he exists, there are pictures, films, adverts; those presents have to come from somewhere don’t they? Even those closest to you tell you Santa is real.
But by the time you’re ten you’ve seen through that. Maybe a friend prompted you that Santa wasn’t real, but then what happened? You looked. And when you looked you saw there was no real logic to the story. There were gaps and some bits didn’t make sense. Then, perhaps with a little disappointment, you realised there was no actual Santa.
So let’s consider trying to see there’s no ‘self’. What do you have to do? Where should you go? When you saw there was no Santa, did you go to the North Pole or Lapland? Why would you? You can’t find no-Santa. There’s nothing to find. No Santa, means no Santa everywhere, equally, you don’t have to go anywhere special to see it. True, there is no Santa in Lapland, but equally there’s no Santa in this room, right now.
Did you need to set aside a special time to see no-Santa? Not really necessary is it, we can look any time and see can’t we? Did the illusion of Santa return after it was seen through? It can’t really, can it?
Seeing no self may not be as easy as seeing no Santa, but the way we look is much the same in many ways. It’s seeing through a thought or paradigm that has become deeply rooted and firmly established. To see through it we don’t need a special time or place, we’re not seeking anything, because there’s nothing to find – we’re simply trying to see how it is.
There was no Santa when we believed in Santa and no Santa when we didn’t believe in him – nothing changed. All that happened was an illusion was dispelled by looking – that’s all!
So to see there is no real self we need to LOOK. Look at the story of self and be ready to let it go – not to gain anything, only to see how it is. And we can do it right now, here, in this moment. No illusion can withstand constant looking, and that’s all the idea of ‘self’ is – a story we were told, a story we’ve always believed. A story that created an illusion.