Silence: The Joy Of No Self, The Joy Of Being Our True Self In The World
Cover Photo by Ameen Fahmy
By Bruce Davis, Ph.D
Stepping out of our worldly identity can lead us to the freedom of “no self.” No self, no problems. Embrace this awareness, and we find the joy of being our true self in the world.
One of the highest realms to reach in Buddhism is the awareness of “no self.” Mystics in all traditions describe a similar experience. Here we enjoy the presence of life, awareness in the moment without thought or feeling, pure being. We all have moments watching a sunset, sitting next to a calm lake, or just being still inside in meditation. In these moments we are the sunset. We are the lake. We are our no self, being, present with everything within and around us. In our no self, the whole universe is seemingly centered in the heart within our heart. There is perfect harmony.
We don’t have to go to a remote cave to find our no self. It is always with us. When we are simply present, being with life around and in us, our no self is here. There is a profound emptiness. Normally we fill up this emptiness with all the activity of our mind and busy life. But wait, embrace this emptiness. Let everything be. It actually is not empty but a vast, endless space, profoundly full of presence. This is the home of our no self. Instead of filling our home inside with lots of thoughts, feelings, activity, we spend time in the expansive landscape that is natural in our awareness. Our no self is a large quiet inside. Everything else is just noise. We enjoy simply being. No self is the new normal. Silence, nature, heart, being extremely present is to be extremely alive.
Knowing about and valuing our no self is the first step. Understanding that our personality, all our beliefs, judgments, desires and worries are free loaders in this space is the next step. The world that we carry inside is a squatter. It is occupying our awareness (legally or illegally, this is a question for another time). To put it nicely, the mental world we live with every day is a visitor in our house. The emperor has no clothes. There is a palace within us that is ours. We can claim it and move everything and everyone out!
When we take time for retreat, time for the calm, peaceful inner quiet of our heart, our spirit, nature, and meditation merge together in a great conspiracy. Our no self is exposed! When our personality is not engaged in conversation and the routines of our life, the true home inside us is experienced. Our no self is present! Away from our struggles and desires, on vacation from our obligations and worries, our no self slowly, calmly emerges as a beautiful dawn lighting the sky. Our retreat turns on the light. Our thoughts and feelings are seen for what they are. They are only thoughts and feelings. We are much more.
Patience, trust, innocence, love are the DNA of awareness. What holds these strands together is peace. We all know the strength of these qualities. Our no self is nothing more and nothing less than the DNA of awareness. As our no self is embraced, the DNA of our awareness multiplies and builds. This is why it is so special to know our self free of thoughts, our no self.
As we identify with our no self, a fresh wind blows through our personality and into our lives. Silence cleans our awareness like a great spring cleaning. Pure nature and heartfulness meditation dissolve the worldly obstacles lodged in our personality. Our no self is not having no-one home inside as one might imagine. It is exactly the opposite. Our no self is like a white knight emerging, standing firm in our inner palace. Our white knight is the guard of everything that is good. To know the white knight of our no self is to find the brilliance of his sword shining brightly, melting away our worldly concerns, preserving the integrity of our being. Yes, silence is that powerful. Our no self is this certain. It is who we really are.
Withdrawing temporarily from our worldly life and stepping into the silence of our interior life opens us to the reality of no self. Moments can become hours which can be days, humbled by the simplicity of life. We are one with something other, with nature, with one another. Our awareness is one, true, absorbed in something greater. Our normal personality, the limiting walls of our mental world, gently crumble. They have no substance. This vastness is our new understanding. We have a new perspective. We see everything and everyone differently. The expansiveness of our no self is a freedom where judgments and constricted feelings that used to rule our days no longer have any foundation. Our no self is a peaceful liberator. No one has to know. We have found a large clear sky within us, a sky more blue then blue, more brilliant than brilliant. How significant are a few clouds? Our no self frees us from life’s small and large distractions.
We can step off the treadmill of life. We don’t have to use all our energy managing our personal story. Impatience, desires, and worries no longer stick to us like a tree that never loses its leaves even in the winter. The meditation practice we carry strengthens our awareness. There is a sacred adventure. The adventure of living deeply in the well of our being, drinking inner peace, and dancing our own dance, begins when we take a step out of the busyness of daily life and step into the sanctuary of the silence of our heart. Our no self gives us the joy of being our true self in the world.