In Search of Self and Beyond

“Stop acting so small.

You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

~ Rumi


One of the most confusing and debated issues in philosophy, theology, psychology, anthropology, and now in the emerging neurosciences and quantum consciousness explorations, is the concept of the self. To be succinct, the matter may be condensed into the question, “Who or what am I?”

The purpose of this essay is not to summarize the current state of the investigation, nor to champion any particular position that has already been advocated by far more accomplished minds than mine. Rather, I am here to suggest that most of the confusion around the subject is based on a fundamental misunderstanding — one that relies on the conditioned filtration system of the limited human organism.

Just so, we will never be able to accurately account for that which utterly transcends the human intellect, any more than we can hope to view the grand procession of celestial galaxies by using our curled fingers as a telescope, since the essence of it vibrates at a much higher frequency than is accessible by human 3-D receptive/interpretive hardware.

To get a rudimentary sense of the matter, we can begin with the observation that most of us take the individualized body-mind-self to be representative of who and what we are — hence the “me-story”, or personal narrative. The prime misunderstanding generated from that conviction is the belief that we are human beings in a world of other human beings, all vying for survival and prominence. That mistaken identity is further complicated by sub-programs of gender, race, social affiliation, and cultural belief systems.

It is all an innocent enough assumption, since by inserting ourselves into this vibrational frequency, we necessarily assume a kind of amnesia regarding our true nature. The purpose of this amnesia is to create the illusion that we actually are the human animal which we have temporarily inhabited. The ensuing self-sense is not some troublesome critter that needs to be extinguished (as some human religious systems claim), but simply a way to navigate the objective human realm for the duration of the experience.

navigating the maze

The illusion of the “person” is necessary in order to grant the incarnational adventure a sense of reality. For the experience to have a vivid impact, we need to identify with the fictional avatar in the virtual reality game of being human to the extent that we momentarily forget ourselves and believe we are the game character itself. In that regard, all those systems which deny that we are the so-called self are somewhat correct, as long as they are pointing to the fact that we are not truly the body-mind vehicle, the flesh and blood human character, or “person”.

However, even those systems which claim that we are humans with souls actually have it backward, in the sense that we are much more like spiritual beings who have infused a portion of our light energy (which are then called souls) into human animals in order to enjoy the visceral human experience. In doing so, we create a two-in-one opportunity to gather interesting human experiences by acting as both the Witness and the Do-er (although in reality we are neither) in the virtual reality scenarios or psycho-physical realms of the 3-D vibrational frequency.

When we return to our purely spiritual state after dropping off the material body costume, we expand the knowledge base of our familial “soul group”, of which we are more like cells, with the fresh experiences we gleaned while fused with the human animal. In this way, the whole group is able to share in the experiences of any of its constituent parts, and thus continuously expands its level of self-awareness in the process.

soul group

By investing a percentage of our light energy through a process of focused attention into the human host, we come to identify with the human character for the duration of its lifespan, enjoying the unique sense of self that results from the fusion. Nevertheless, we are not that human self, any more than we are the body-mind organism with which we are identified.

At death, the human does not move on — we do. The human returns to the atomic elements, but we eventually re-integrate that percentage of energy previously incarnated with our apparent “higher self”, or Spirit, which manifests as a seemingly immortal being of Light in what appear to be heaven-type worlds, dimensions which vibrate at a much higher frequency than the denser human circumstance. At this level, we enjoy increasingly greater access to the Universal Knowledge, so much so that it renders even our most seemingly profound human concepts of enlightenment comparable to the vague murmurings of sleepwalkers.


This higher or “Whole Self” or “Spiritual Self” appears to be, for all intents and purposes, much more like our real and immortal nature than any human illusion, just as the world of Spirit seems infinitely more real than our lower density 3-D earthly sojourn. However, regardless of our luminous radiance, we are still very much like characters in a dream, a dream being dreamt by the Source of all the universe, in the same way that humans are like a dream we seem to create when we incarnate that portion of our energy into the illusory environment of the human bio-vehicle.

Just as the human/soul entity populates its dreams with all sorts of characters at night while asleep, so too do we appear in the Mind of Source. Kashmir Shaivites have depicted it (metaphorically) as the dream play of Shiva, which in today’s quantum terms would correspond to the image of a projected super-holograph.

As “spiritual” beings, we have been infused with a sense of individuality by Source, just so that It can experience itself from every possible angle and thereby enjoy its creation through our various perspectives as co-creators of all manifestation. In order to be able to appreciate Itself, Source manifests the conditions for the appearance of innumerable sentient forms, which are nevertheless still indivisible shards or projections of Itself. As Spirit beings of light and power (Source Energy), we are perfect vehicles and conduits for Source’s creative play of consciousness.

light body

In that regard, one could say that what we actually are is Source Itself, “pretending” to be multiple distinct selves. Consequently, those who claim that we are not even souls at last are also ultimately correct. In any event, Source is not some kind of Super Personality or Ultra-cosmic Entity (which are mere human concepts), but much more like a vast, fluid, ineffable holographic energy field of transparent Clear Light, an interconnected and resonant web of reality to which no human terms or descriptions can ever truly apply, but which includes all creation as manifest aspects and dynamic reflections of its own unconditional loving.

net of indra

Indeed, as the great mystic Meister Eckhart proclaimed: “Love is nothing other than God. God loves himself and his nature, his being, and his divinity. In the same love, however, in which God loves himself, he also loves all creatures, not as creatures but he loves the creatures as God. In the same love in which God loves himself, he loves all things. Now I shall say something I have never said before. God enjoys himself. In the same enjoyment in which God enjoys himself, he enjoys all creatures. With the same enjoyment with which God enjoys himself, he enjoys all creatures, not as creatures, but he enjoys the creatures as God. In the same enjoyment in which God enjoys himself, he enjoys all things.”

Fundamentally, there are no sentient beings in the universe — there is only Source, playing all the roles, wearing every mask, engaged in all the functions, and purely for the joy of the dance. Any sense of separate self which we might clothe ourselves in is merely a temporary dream costume of Source, as is any illusion of substantial and enduring personhood. As the bliss-permeated saint Ananadamayi Ma poetically remarked: “Who is it that loves and who that suffers? He alone stages a play with Himself; who exists save Him?”

Indeed, whatever we interpret from our limited human point of view as the “Divine” is simply “That” which is looking out of our eyes, living us as Its own life, and replicating that same process in an infinite numbers of ways, an infinite number of lives, yet each distinct to the eyes through which It lives and sees and creates. Here, the mystics’ claim that “there is only God” is actually the literal truth, or as Alan Watts said: “You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

eye see u

When even the illusion of being an independent and exclusive higher light being self finally drops away in the Light of Love’s unconditional grace, we recognize that our highest human conceptions of liberation and Nirvana were simply crude representations of the reality of our infinite loving potential. Although uniquely individual expressions of Source Energy, we have also never been other than Source Itself. Pointing to this paradox, the sage Ramana Maharshi noted: “The ‘I’ casts off the illusion of “I”, but remains as ‘I’.” How amazing! Furthermore, there was never anything to acquire, attain, or become that was not already true of us. We have never been other than “That”. We are the whole thing, and simultaneously no-thing. It is the Universal Reality itself – the matrix of all that is — which is manifesting as the Great Perfection, a super-hologram (to use a quantum term) in which past, present, and future all exist simultaneously, in a divinely joyous choreography beyond human comprehension.

In seeing through and transcending any exclusive identification with all provisional self-constructs (whether sacred or mundane), it might seem that this is as far as we can go — to recognize that we are in reality extensions or shards of infinitely expanding Source Energy — but we need not stop here. If we consider the intrinsic logic of the manifesting hierarchy of self/Self Realization — ascending from human creation to spiritual being and then to the Source of the whole manifest and un-manifest totality — we can also intuit that Source Itself may be more like a super-holographic cell within an even vaster cosmic body, one far beyond our conceptual reach, populated with holographic thought-universes more numerous than grains of sand on a beach.

In that regard, the noted Quantum Physicist David Bohm suggested that the superholographic level of reality is a “mere stage” beyond which lies “an infinity of further development”. Just so, there might very likely be no limit nor circumference which could somehow account for, define, or contain it all, no true and final self-existent Absolute behind conditional appearances that can be established, but simply a dependently arising thought within another thought, ad infinitum. Moreover, there may never have been a singular “big bang” where it all began, no actual beginning nor end to Love’s Play, no origination and therefore no destruction, no place to plant a flag and claim some surety, no end of the line where the “buck stops”, but more like a dream within a larger dream within even larger, more exquisitely confounding dreams, far beyond any progressively sublime conception — human or divine. Truly, it is all open-ended, limitless, and unknown, and that is the elegant glory of it — its sheer magnificent Mystery!


“Merely assuaging fears and satisfying desires will not remove this sense of emptiness you are trying to escape from; only self-knowledge can help you. By self-knowledge I mean full knowledge of what you are not. Such knowledge is attainable and final; but to the discovery of what you are there can be no end. The more you discover, the more there remains to discover.”

~Nisargadatta Maharaj


About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
This entry was posted in Consciousness, Enlightenment, Near Death Experience, Nonduality, Spiritual Practice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to In Search of Self and Beyond

  1. Rubye Jack says:

    I agree with you that it is all a mystery, but more than that we don’t have the words to talk about it even if we did have some realization of what it is. However, it seems to be our nature to keep trying to figure it all out even though it is a fruitless endeavor. Ah well…

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Hi Rubye,

      Yes, the masters say that those who know don’t speak, but then go on and write endless commentaries on various issues. It seems that humans just love to communicate their thoughts to the tribe, and occasionally some thought might just spark a kind of awakening, or at least serve to expand another’s horizons, so it’s all good.

      Buddha said it pretty well in the Lankavatara Sutra: “So with the teachings in all the sutras: They are intended for the consideration and guidance of the discriminating minds of all people, but they are not the Truth itself, which can only be self-realized within one’s deepest consciousness. Mahamati, you and all the Bodhisattvas must seek for this inner self-realization of Noble Wisdom, and not be captivated by word-teaching.”


  2. SO VERY TRUE……Enlightening …

  3. marcel says:

    “fuck it” he added 😀

    I’ve often been between the extremes of detachment and dispassion from “spiritual practise/self-inquiry” and the detachment and dispassion from “wordly acitivities”. Months of reflection can turn into months of “fuck it” lets eat, smoke and hang in front of the tv 24/7. It turns out that all of it is based on an imagined character. Only activity which never was a “volitional choice” was playing, you know like those dolphins and the rings, whether “fuck it” on the couch or imagining to be something holy, give me a balloon and I turn into a kid.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      [in Just-]

      By E. E. Cummings

      in Just-

      spring when the world is mud-

      luscious the little

      lame balloonman

      whistles far and wee

      and eddieandbill come

      running from marbles and

      piracies and it’s


      when the world is puddle-wonderful

      the queer

      old balloonman whistles

      far and wee

      and bettyandisbel come dancing

      from hop-scotch and jump-rope and






      balloonMan whistles




  4. marcel says:

    Self inside self,
    you are nothing but me.

    Self inside self,
    I am only You.

    What we are together
    will never die.

    The why and how of this?

    What does it matter?

  5. marcel says:

    I have it in my images folder from your gallery, our talk reminded me of it, though what I thought about it a year ago has no value anymore. So I found a pdf file with several ones… mesmerizing!

    Click to access lalleshwari_2012_7.pdf

  6. marcel says:

    Wonderful thank you, these poems are amazing!
    “You leave, so that we two
    can do One Dance”

  7. Rod Lloyd says:

    Thank you, Bob. I wandered along the path of Kashmir Shaivism for a bit. Learnt a lot about the Shive of Awareness that we are, sort of. Like the way you express. I feel a sort of amalgam of Hindu/Buddhist seeings. This “Self/self’, is from one viewpoint, and not from another, it seems to me. Nothing definite finally in this “floating world”. This is also helpful to me as I explore the other theme elsewhere, on reincarnation ideas. Many thanks.

  8. Rod Lloyd says:

    Thanks to Marcel for the links also. Will enjoy.

  9. Bob OHearn says:

    “God is Love. And Love must love. And to love there must be a Beloved. But since God is Existence infinite and eternal there is no one for Him to love but Himself. And in order to love Himself He must imagine Himself as the Beloved whom He as the Lover imagines He loves.
    Beloved and Lover implies separation. And separation creates longing; and longing causes search. And the wider and the more intense the search the greater the separation and the more terrible the longing.
    When longing is most intense separation is complete, and the purpose of separation, which was that Love might experience itself as Lover and Beloved, is fulfilled; and union follows. And when union is attained, the lover knows that he himself was all along the Beloved whom he loved and desired union with; and that all the impossible situations that he overcame were obstacles which he himself had placed in the path to himself.
    To attain union is so impossibly difficult because it is impossible to become what you already are! Union is nothing other than knowledge of oneself as the Only One”.

    ~Excerpted from The Everything and The Nothing by Meher Baba

  10. Bob OHearn says:

    ‘Nothing is me,’ is the first step. ‘Everything is me’ is the next. Both hang on the idea: ‘there is a world’. When this too is given up, you remain what you are — the non-dual Self. You are it here and now, but your vision is obstructed by your false ideas about your self.
    You know so many things about yourself, but the knower you do not know. Find out who you are, the knower of the known. Look within diligently, remember to remember that the perceived cannot be the perceiver. Whatever you see, hear or think of, remember — you are not what happens, you are he to whom it happens. Delve deeply into the sense ‘I am’ and you will surely discover that the perceiving centre is universal, as universal as the light that illumines the world. All that happens in the universe happens to you, the silent witness. On the other hand, whatever is done, is done by you, the universal and inexhaustible energy.

    ~Nisargadatta Maharaj

  11. Bob OHearn says:

    To attain a greater understanding [of Source] a person would need to process concepts, thoughts and laws of infinity not associated with the human brain and its current design to process information. Information would need to be processed within a greater speed, spectrum and dimension altogether. The human animal brain is currently not capable of processing all the information necessary to understand prime creator. It is as if the structure of the brain was like that of a mouse, which was then expected to process concepts that would allow it to build a space rocket, or asking the mouse to speak Italian.

    It is of suitable benefit to keep things simple as to permit the mind to settle enough to accept its boundaries. It is enough to say that this universe is but one miniscule spec of sand in relation to all of what is. The universe is a part of another larger universe, and that part of another larger still, so on and so forth. Each one having no measurable boundary or edge due to the continuous expansion of them which takes place at a speed unconceivable to man. Where each universe exists, an immeasurable spectrum of vibration resonates and oscillates, which facilitates all things in existence within the same space. This could be understood as infinite dimensional corridors that are living, moving, expanding, interweaving membranes. All things are happening. All things moving. All things becoming. All is a process. A process of Self becoming. The One is becoming that which is. This One is prime creator. For trillions and trillions of years will this expanding Self expression, Self-expulsion continue, until in an instant all shall return as One. Yet this One, this prime creator, the source of all things, this source process, this life giving mechanism is in itself just a miniscule fragment of something else. There is no end, all is a process of something else, even prime creator.

    Free will is a means to which ‘the process’ becomes not just a process, but becomes a REALization of Self, or Prime Creator, through the invention of time.

    Let us expand.

    Understand Prime Creator is a being that undergoes its own evolution, expansion and growth as you understand yourself to do so. This evolution of Prime Creator is facilitated through the application and function of time by the process of recreation of Self. That is, Prime Creator is continuously recreating itself.

    Time is a construct that enables the One to recreate its Self by the process of the time it takes for each of its fragments (you) to REALize itself into its full potential. Each time the One becomes fully Self-realized, it evolves into another evolutionary form. This is what is known as the divine inhale and exhale of God. This recreation it the process of its own evolution as a being, of a much larger being.

    Free will is the means to which each of its fragmented aspects can facilitate its purpose and function, its own direction of new creation, thus causing its own continuous Self evolution from within. It is as if you are the atoms and molecules within your own physical body causing the body of the biological child to mature into an adult from within, who perpetually continues to grow and who lives forever. As human beings evolve biologically in this way from the smaller components within, so too does Prime Creator.

    The biological and spiritual evolution of the human species is a symbolic miniaturization of the process that Prime Creator is undertaking through, and as a result of . . .YOU.

    You are not the creation of Prime creator. Prime Creator is the creation of you.


  12. Bob OHearn says:

    “All major mystical traditions have recognized that there is a paradox at the heart of the journey of return to Origin. Put simply, this is that we are already what we seek, and that what we are looking for on the Path with such an intensity of striving and passion and discipline is already within and around us at all moments. The journey and all its different ordeals are all emanations of the One Spirit that is manifesting everything in all dimensions; every rung of the ladder we climb toward final awareness is made of the divine stuff of awareness itself; Divine Consciousness is at once creating and manifesting all things and acting in and as all things in various states of self-disguise throughout all the different levels and dimensions of the universe.”

    ~Andrew Harvey

  13. Bob OHearn says:

    Who is it that loves and who that suffers ?
    He alone stages a play with Himself; who exists save Him ?
    The individual suffers because he perceives duality.
    It is duality which causes all sorrow and grief.
    Find the One everywhere and in everything
    and there will be an end to pain and suffering.

    ~ Sri Anandamayi Ma

  14. Bob OHearn says:

    In regard to the endurance of our sense of individuality, one of my teachers noted: “You will never, ever, lose this individual identity you know as ‘I’, even if you return to source.” Ramana Maharshi said: “The ‘I’ casts off the illusion of ‘I’ and yet remains as ‘I’. Such is the paradox of Self-realization. The realized do not see any contradiction in it.”

    My current understanding is that our individuality as Spirit can return to or merge with Source at any time. It is a human myth perpetuated by certain religious institutions that we are required to climb some ladder to a distant enlightenment in order to return to Source, when in fact we can release our individual persona and reintegrate back into the blissful union of “All That Is”at any time. Another way to view it is as a recognition of what already is and has always been the case.

    Furthermore, we may thereafter choose to once again separate from that union at any time to indulge our individual soul journey where we left off. Due to the complete and utter dissolution of time, it is described as an experience of perfect bliss which lasts an eternity. Yet for those who greet them on their return experience, only a short elapse of time has transpired. This was also my literal experience during the event of a near-fatal auto accident in 1984, which I have written about elsewhere.

  15. Bob OHearn says:

    “All is a dream. When there is true awakening, all the sense of ‘being’ disappears, even the sense that you are the Self also disappears.”

    ~Siddharameshwar Maharaj

  16. Bob OHearn says:

    The Reverend Zen Master Soyen Shaku was the first Zen Buddhist Abbot to tour the United States in 1905-6. He wrote a series of essays collected into the book Zen For Americans. In the essay titled “The God Conception of Buddhism” he attempts to explain how a Buddhist looks at the ultimate without an anthropomorphic God figure while still being able to relate to the term God in a Buddhist sense:

    At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience. Again, Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it identifies the universe with God. On the other hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent; this world, being merely its manifestation, is necessarily fragmental and imperfect. To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, “panentheism,” according to which God is πᾶν καὶ ἕν (all and one) and more than the totality of existence.[59]

    The essay then goes on to explain first utilizing the term “God” for the American audience to get an initial understanding of what he means by “panentheism,” and then discusses the terms that Buddhism uses in place of “God” such as Dharmakaya, Buddha or AdiBuddha, and Tathagata.

  17. Bob OHearn says:

    “Men and women are beautiful masks. Behind them all is the same Divine Power who rises up gently through the six subtle centers of this human body, giving each person a unique flavor and intensity, unveiling through each living being a unique degree of Divine Manifestation.”

    ~Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

  18. Pingback: The Conscious Process – Bob O’Hearn | Creative by Nature

  19. Bob OHearn says:

    This is another excellent essay composed of wisdom from Sparrow on the process of Self-Realization, from a unique angle of vision.

  20. Bob OHearn says:

    When you meet face to face with your own spirit, in one sense, it is as if you are looking into the eyes of God itself. Such an experience is truly so profound, for to describe your spirit is to compare it to a form of holographic personification of God. This is to say, everything you aspire God to be and represent is actually that which is your own spirit. This is why all forms of hierarchical ascensionism spoken about simply does not exist in the spirit world, for it cannot. All spirit are equal to that which you know as God. One God cannot be more ascended, better or more divine than another, for all are One.

    There is only one source. That source projects its Self through many holograms of light, which you know to be your spirit. Your spirit is the sum of all things, within all times, within all dimensions, within all possibilities. However, you experience your spirit through the progression of the awareness construct of time, in order for you to experience your Self through free will. That which you know, or may not know as God wears many personas which have been given free will, through the construct of time and awareness, to create who or what it wishes to be through its own eyes. This is to say, there is no-thing your spirit cannot be or do, for your spirit is EVERYTHING, of the past, present and future. Again, you simply experience being separate from all of that because your human consciousness persona presently operates as a singular unit of consciousness. In truth, your spirit is actually having other lives in what you call your future, elsewhere in other vibratory realities. Even human beings can multitask, so why presume your own spirit cannot perform billions of similar feats simultaneously.”


  21. Bob OHearn says:

    Nanci Danison wrote:

    “The “knowings” I received while living in the afterlife taught me a new model of our relationship with our Creator. I was shown that Source is an all-loving, and not controlling, immense intelligent energy field with emotions, imagination, and life of its own. Source has an innate personality or set of character traits that are immutable and constitute its “core” consciousness. In addition, Source has created within its own mind all of the personalities/characters that we call “souls.” We are those souls within Source’s mind; we are parts of Source. And we have been given complete free will to pick and choose the events of the physical lives of the creatures we inhabit. We either allow the host body to lead its animal life with us just going along for the ride, or, we manifest into physical reality what we truly and deeply believe about human life and ourselves within it.

    So, because we are parts of Source’s mind, and we have the ability to control the actions and lives of the human hosts we inhabit (whether we exercise it or not), Source in a very limited sense does control human lives through us. The difference between this model of life, and the religious model, is who has the power. In the religious model, God is all powerful and we are powerless. The religious model assumes that the core consciousness of Source directs and controls everything in the physical world. In the model I was given in the afterlife, we ARE parts of God and are therefore powerful spiritual forces ourselves. We direct and control our own lives as Source.”

  22. Bob OHearn says:

    “At the most recent Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, recently held at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, scientists gathered to address the question for the year: Is the universe a computer simulation? It’s an older question that you might imagine, and if we interpret it a bit more broadly then it’s really one of the oldest questions imaginable: How do we know that reality is reality? And, if our universe were a big, elaborate lie, could we ever devise some test to prove that fact? At the debate, host and celebrity astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that the probability is that we live in a computer simulation.”

    “By far the best moment of Recode’s annual Code Conference was when Elon Musk took the stage and explained that though we think we’re flesh-and-blood participants in a physical world, we are almost certainly computer-generated entities living inside a more advanced civilization’s video game.”

  23. Bob OHearn says:

    “Because people think that they are jivas, Sri Krishna has said that God resides in the Heart as the operator of the jivas. In fact there are no jivas and no operator. The Self comprises all.”

    ~Ramana Maharshi

  24. Bob OHearn says:

    Thicket of Views
    “This is how [a person of wrong view] attends inappropriately:

    ‘Was I in the past? … Shall I be in the future? …
    Am I? Am I not? What am I? …’

    As he attends inappropriately in this way,
    one of six kinds of view arises in him: …

    ‘I have a self…’
    ‘I have no self…’
    ‘It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self…’
    ‘It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self…’
    ‘It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self…’
    ‘This very self of mine … is the self of mine that is constant…’

    This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views,
    contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views.
    Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed … is not freed,
    I tell you, from suffering and stress.”

    ~Sabbasava Sutta

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