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Friday, February 16, 2007

Meditations on No-Self and Change

I just got off the meditation cushion and like after many sessions I have the inspiration to write.

I was meditating upon the teaching of no-self in particular today and after a while I felt this extreme relaxation that sometimes comes when I focus my attention on the lack of an inherent self. This state of calm comes with a feeling of slight floating and a sensation that my body has melted beyond it's frame and merged with the continuous chain of molecules in space and time. I feel as if I am apart of a firm yet flexible wall where I can not tell at what point my body ends and the rest of the world begins. This experience is by no means ever present when I sit and it isn't something to attach too. However, it is always a beautiful, welcome, hands-on lesson in inter-connection and losing oneself into the vast yet comforting ocean of emptiness or no self.

Today is a very windy day and I am enjoying the commotion it has created. I use to become anxious with the wind (as I think I have mentioned here before). It use to anger me because it forced my carefully crafted world of "me" into flux. With mindfulness, however, I have come to welcome it as a visible reminder and agent of change. It helps remind me that change is a good thing. Without the changing winds there would be no seeds scattered to implant in fertile soil. Without the winds of change rain clouds would never empty their liquid beauty upon those seeds to grow into cherished plants to feed us.

I also see wind as symbolic of blowing the toxins of the "self" out of our minds. It is as if it is the very breath of Inter-being blowing away the dualistic boundaries of separateness to scatter our habit energy to be burned away in the freedom of emptiness or no self. Emptiness being liberating because in that state we are no longer bound by the constraints of the ego. Or "self" which seeks to imprison everything and everyone into categories or "jail cells" out of ignorance and fear which ultimately leads to all of our suffering. This example of the prison really helps me understand the beautiful gift of emptiness/no self. Because if I see myself as trapped in a cage (ego self) then I want to do everything to free myself from that cage so that I might reunite with my family and friends (the state of inter-being of the Higher Self). Seeing the freedom in emptiness and change is Right View or Buddha mind. This is because in emptiness we see things as they really are. The blurry glasses have been removed.

What have we to fear if we embrace change as a gift?

I hope some of this makes sense. It does in my head but isn't that where the problems lie in the first place? Ha!!

~Peace to all beings.

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Kuan Gung said...

Interesting...seems very much to the core of Buddhism the experiences...I wish I could get results from my meditations...thank you

Renée said...

I also have sometimes a similar experience - a lofty walking in connection and kindness with everything that is around you. And nothing and no one is disturbing you because you feel an inner peace...but James, I think that especially now - in our dark age (as the Masters say)- it's very difficult to be in harmony with our world but you always will find help if you don't give up. I found your sangha here and that helps me very much - and makes me glad ...!

Mystic Wing said...

On occasion, I've known the sensation you describe. It's an interesting paradox that by surrendering self, "self" seems to expand in size until in incorporates all things. But should you focus on the state, or cling to it in any way, it naturally vanishes.

At long last, I've recently begun to see the direct connection between desire (attachment) and ego. In my more clear headed moments, desire feels like a physical "stickiness" that can be dissolved and washed away by the surrender of right thinking.

Great post today. Thanks.

"James" said...

Kuan Gung:

I don't always have these experiences and I think the core of meditation is basic breathing.

Breathing brings us peace and centers us so that we can better deal with strong emotions.

Sometimes it doesn't always feel as if we are gaining results. But they are there. They just don't emerge in the dramatic way that we want all the time.

The change happens on a subtle level and before we know it our understanding has deepened as we see the change and understand that it was always there.

We have to build up the mindfulness to see through the layers of our "self" that try to obscure our ever present Buddha Nature.


It is a difficult world indeed.

However, you are right that if we have dedication we can live in peace no matter what.

I'm glad that our sangha here is helpful for you. I know that it is very helpful for me too. I benefit from everyone's comments and interactions.

Mystic Saint:

It is a delicate balance.

I am happy to hear of your realizations. May you continue to realize that Oneness friend.

I am pleased to have your presence here. I benefit greatly from everyones beautiful energy here and on their own blogs.

Greenwoman said...

I agree with you James that breathing is the best basic meditation practice from which all else naturally and easily flows...

I have not meditated in quite this with this specific focus before. Though you'd think I would have...I'd like to hear more about your practice with this in the past if you'd care to share in future posts.

It sounds familiar to me...which may mean that we simply have a different language to talk about the same thing...or it may be soul memory reminding me of knowing what's true and that I need to focus on this. Thanks for the post!

sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




Ross Rosen said...

I just stumbled across your site and added it to the links in my blog. What you write about is interesting to me as a buddhist and as a practitioner of Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine, etc.).

Some core concepts in Chinese medicine (which has many buddhist origins) is that of the 5 phase correspondences. One of which regards the wood element, the liver, anger, wind and change. It seems your meditation experience has been a direct link to these nature correspondences.

The liver is associated also with the color blue-green. I wonder if you see any of these colors while meditating on these concepts...?

We think of wind in Chinese medicine as the catalyst. It brings in the "hundreds of diseases." Essentially, if one is unable to accommodate change in one's life, imbalance sets in. The liver governs the free flow of qi-energy-prana, etc. and when we fail to bend with the wind, our qi becomes stagnant (toxic to use a word from your post).

When one can acclimate to the changes, a true freedom does arise. The liver deals with flexibility, physically (it controls the blood flow to our tendons and sinews) and psychologically (it controls the eyes and the capacity to see and plan, and also the Hun spirit). As one moves with the wind, one can constantly be renewed by nature, not holding on to preconceived notions or that which keeps us stagnant or prevents our growth.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. The post just inspired me to comment.

Ross Rosen said...

also...liver controls the diaphragm (along with kidneys), thus the connection with all this to the breath....

"James" said...

Green Woman:

I'd be happy to speak more on breathing in an upcoming post. Look for it in a couple days. :)


I very much an interested in holistic , traditional Chinese medicine. As well as other traditional medicines.

I do sometimes see a blueish color when meditating on breath. Purple when meditating upon love and compassion.

I have such a strong bond with nature and return to it often in my physical life and spiritual life. You're right. It is very renewing and rejuvenating.

Ross Rosen said...

You can read more about alternative medicine concepts on my blog: and many articles on my website

I look forward to reading more of your posts. And thanks for responding.


dragonflyfilly said...

yes, i know that feeling of "melting" into the ether...very unreal, yet very real at the same time --- truly sublime --- have not felt it for a long time....

i am reading all you posts, but not feeling like/or quite knowing what sensible things to say...just so that you know i do visit...and think of you fondly,

cheers for now,

"James" said...


I understand. Sometimes I don't quite know what to say on people's blogs either. And at times, words can often just get in the way of pure energy. I can indeed sense your energy here. :)

Anonymous said...

Drop it.

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