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  • Anne Sweet

There’s no-one here … or is there?

How useful to most seekers are the ubiquitous spiritual concepts such as ‘there’s no-one here’ and ‘this is all a dream’? For most of us the experience of being alive in a body in this world is very, very real indeed. Why impose a ‘you don’t exist’ belief on top of that very real experience? Attempting to manipulate oneself into believing a concept that is not one’s true experience sounds like torture and the very opposite of Freedom or Liberation. It also provides fertile ground for spiritual bypassing: the misuse of spiritual practices and concepts to avoid taking personal responsibility for one's life and one's actions.

Wouldn’t it be better to start from where we are – to go deeply into the experience of our humanity and discover for ourselves the truth of our own nature? To be willing to face our demons and our fears and failings, and to hopefully discover the usually hidden dimensions of who or what we might be beyond the personal identity? For that we don’t need concepts or gurus to believe in; only the willingness to dive deeply within ourselves to find out the truth of what’s there.

And if we do discover that we aren’t what we thought we were, if we do discover our timeless, limitless Self/no-self beyond the personal identity, it will be our discovery, not a concept or idea that we’ve tried to force ourselves to fit into, but never quite could.

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Thich Nhat Hanh I have been sceptical of this concept in the past, failing to see how such a sangha (of even highly spiritually developed people) could avoid the politicking, corruption and power grab

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