Nonattachment to I

Anagrams, like rhymes and quotes-out-of-context, provide no deep wisdom. Recently, in the dark in bed before falling asleep I noticed that the letters in "No Ego" can be rearranged to make "O, Gone". Needless to say, that discovery is not to be taken seriously — even if one writes the leading letter "O" as "0", a Zennish zero.

The original source of the thought, however, is more interesting. In a recent (and somewhat flawed) New York Times magazine article titled "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body" author William J. Broad quotes yoga teacher Glenn Black: "The whole point of yoga is to get rid of ego." Whether true or false about yoga, the notion of de-emphasizing self is fascinating, maybe valuable. In Chapter 5 of Beginner's Guide to Insight Meditation Arianna Weisman and Jean Smith comment (in the section "Attachment to 'I'") on that theme:

... Our attachment to "I" is probably the most difficult to untangle. We have a sure and certain sense of ourselves as "here," as "I did," and as "this is me," but this sense of "I" comes about only through attachment. If we investigate ourselves very carefully, we find thoughts, physical sensations, and feelings of unpleasantness, pleasantness, or neither pleasant nor unpleasant. We find different feelings of joy, love, anger, faith, and envy. We find perception and memory. All of these experiences do not stay the same; even our thoughts of ourselves do not stay the same. So where is the solid "I"? ...

Imagine the wonderful freedom that comes from beginning to have some distance from our "I am this" or "that." If we have no attachment to ourselves, we have no need to defend ourselves. We can live with an open heart and mind. If we have no attachment, we have no need to hoard, lie, or hurt others. We do not need to play out roles that we think we should play as teachers, students, or parents. Rather, we can live as ourselves and as teachers, students, or parents with ease and well-being. Our greatest contraction and isolation are linked to our ownership of and belief in a permanent "I" and the consequent organization of all experiences around it.

(cf. Coming to Our Senses (2009-01-01), Living Yoga (2010-09-28), Beginner's Guide to Insight Meditation (2011-08-05), Insight Meditation for Letting Go (2011-08-16), No Self-Blaming (2011-09-11), ...) - ^z - 2012-01-15