Inner Circle Insights – Self vs. No Self

This month we are starting a new approach to communicating the workings of the Inner Circles. Rather than reporting on what the individual circle?s are discussing, we thought we would go into more depth and talk about what insights we?ve gained in the group.

This month we?ll focus on the Eastern Spirituality Inner Circle, and in subsequent months we will discuss insights from other circles.

Each Circle is on a spiritual exploration, taken from a different viewpoint. There are now three active Circles, Eastern Spirituality, Christianity, and Soul Matters. We will be forming several new Circles over the next few months. If you are not part of an Inner Circle, but would like to begin your own spiritual journey, contact Paul Sharp.

Self vs. No Self

One of the paradoxes of Eastern Religions such as Buddhism is their insistence that the thing we call the ?self? is simply an illusion. For Westerners, raised on rugged individualism, this comes as a disconcerting shock. What do you mean there?s no self?? Who is this self that is making the claim that there?s no self?

In the book?Coming Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Thich Naht Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist, resolves the paradox with this metaphor. Waves appear on the ocean, and all the waves are made of water. Thus each wave is related and connected to every other wave. If ?self? equals the wave, and ?no-self? equals the water, then self is made up of no-self. We are all connected, all participants in the vast cosmos of life, and yet we have our own individual personalities and identities. It isn?t a question of either self, or no-self, but both simultaneously. The concept of no-self merely serves as a balancing point, a way to keep us humans from acting like such self-centered monkeys. It?s all about harmony, and finding peace in the middle of a chaotic world.

Next Month: Soul Matters Insights.

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