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Unselfing

In the chapter "Selfing" of Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about getting away from too much focusing on "I", "me", and "mine":

So, when we speak about not trying so hard to be "somebody" and instead just experience being, directly, what it means is that you start from where you find yourself and work here. Meditation is not about trying to become a nobody, or a contemplative zombie, incapable of living in the real world and facing real problems. It's about seeing things as they are, without the distortions of our own thought processes. Part of that is perceiving that everything is interconnected and that while our conventional sense of "having" a self is helpful in many ways, it is not absolutely real or solid or permanent. So, if you stop trying to make yourself into more than you are out of fear that you are less than you are, whoever you really are will be a lot lighter and happier, and easier to live with, too.

We might begin by taking things a little less personally. When something happens, try to see it without the self-orientation, just for fun. Maybe it just happened. Maybe it's not aimed at you. Watch your mind at such times. Is it getting into "I" this and "me" that? Ask yourself, "Who am I?" or, "What is this 'I' that is claiming ownership?"

This brings to mind philosopher Daniel Dennett's comment in Freedom Evolves: "If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything," and his follow-up footnote: "This was probably the most important sentence in Elbow Room (Dennett 1984, p. 143), and I made the stupid mistake of putting it in parentheses. I've been correcting that mistake in my work ever since, drawing out the many implications of abandoning the idea of a punctate self. Of course, what I meant to stress with my ironic formulation was the converse: You'd be surprised how much you can internalize, if you make yourself large."

I still don't understand that—but hmmm, maybe the problem isn't the "that", it's the "I"?!

(cf. Coming to Our Senses (2009-01-01), ...) - ^z - 2009-01-14

I like this!