Self or No-Self: The Great Heart part 1


The deepest dimension — level three: the Self or no-self — is unbounded and infinite, unlike any worldly ocean that has a limit, no matter how vast.

I call this the Great or Universal Heart.

Our oceanic metaphor dissolves here, unable to contain what it points to.

Some Buddhists might call this domain “no-self” in order to avoid making it into a subtle object.

It seems to me that the concepts of Self and no-self point to the same direct realization.

To call this reality the “Self” accents the every-thingness or fullness of our true nature; to call it “no-self” accents its no-thingness or emptiness — both are true depending upon whether we look from the perspective of love or wisdom.

As Nisargadatta Maharaj famously said, “Love says that I am everything.

Wisdom says that I am nothing.

Between the two, my life flows.”



6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rudid96 on July 7, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    “Between the two, my life flows.” This is the difficulty humans face – navigating the betweenness. Those that have experienced childhood and relational trauma have often managed to survive with black and white thinking. The concept of ‘betweenness’ is particularly challenging.

  2. It’s all confusing around my trauma and especially around my childhood.

    Life flows

    Life passes us by for the most part if we are successful limiting our PTSD.

    Childhood abuse breeds black and white thinking

    That is what survival mode is like

    When I was wrong in childhood I got beat so battle lines were clear

    Thinking was more absolute

  3. Posted by rudid96 on July 7, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    When the younger parts of myself take over, it’s so painful. Their ‘real time’ is no longer the present. They react. With the help of my coach, accessing these younger parts, seeing them, feeling their pain, as well as appreciating their survival strategies, creates an opening to chip away at the black and white thinking. The current part has choices, and allowing life to ‘flow’ is one of them. People without C-PTSD don’t have to consult an inner Board of Trustees for every interaction.

  4. I have done that work and improved

    When I am present life is better

    None of these therapies ever replaced trust or the flare-ups

    I still feel danger at times

    If I was honest about the last decade of PTSD, it has isolated me and brought enormous pain and made day-to-day life harsh

  5. Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2022 at 11:16 pm

    That is the key “When I am present, life is better.” When I am able to stay present to the immediate moment, emotionally & physically, as well as intellectually, I do so much better. And yes, NOTHING (as far as I can see) will ever stop the flare ups. I can practice but when the seeds of trust and safety weren’t violated in childhood, life will always be work, repair, practice, Rinse and Repeat.

  6. Being present does not last all day long, it is more a moment to moment endeavor

    Those cracks are where trauma thoughts sneak in

    My childhood seems more mundane, the betrayal that surfaced last year causes me the most damage

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