Maya – The Illusion of “Self” Part 5: The Importance of Knowing Ourselves


So why is it important to really understand who, or more importantly, what we are?

How we see ourselves is ultimately how we see the world we navigate through day after day.  It colors our interpretation of everything and therefore contributes to the world we collectively create together as we interact with one another and every living thing on this beautiful planet of ours.  We either see ourselves as separate from the whole of existence or a beautiful expression of it and intimately woven both into and out of it.  If we see ourselves as the latter then everything we do is viewed with a sense of inclusion, not exclusion.  It’s what creates a sense of community; not just a community of people, but a community of all living things.  Why do I believe that the latter statement is so important?

“Everything we do affects the whole of existence.”  There is no such thing as a benign act.  This is very important to understand, because the more we connect with and understand ourselves, the more we understand our connection to others, the environment, the planet as a whole, and the whole cosmos we’re a part of.  The world as it is is only a reflection of how we see ourselves as individuals and collectively as a community.

The delicate “web of life” that sustains all of us is such that there is an extraordinary “inter-connectedness” to everything.   Nature abhors a vacuum, and so as a consequence of its flawless design, nothing in nature is “independent!”  Instead, every thread in the fabric of nature is “interdependent” with each and every living and non-living thing relying on the other for its continued existence.  Every living thing is contributing to your existence so that you may live.

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Something to keep in mind when one considers the world that we’ve divided up into countries, states, politics, social strata, class distinction, race, religion, ethnicity, and so on.  All these distinctions leave us feeling disconnected and cut off from one another.

So then, why can’t we feel this connection to EVERYTHING?

It’s our identification with everything material that leads us to believe there is nothing beyond what we can perceive with our five senses, and even if there is, we tell ourselves, we don’t have time to think about all that nonsense.

It’s fascinating to me that we live in a world where we are surrounded by science and technology that can detect all kinds of things that lie beyond what can be perceived by our senses, and yet we still continue to hold the belief that we are our bodies and there is no deeper reality than what we experience on the most superficial level with our five senses.  We’re left thinking this is all there is and that’s frightening.  So, through the ages, we created elaborate myths to quell our fears.

Religion, in a very futile sense, tries to bridge the gap between the ethereal realms and the “here and now,” but, religion is insufficient at soothing our fears of the unknown and what lies beyond because one doesn’t practice religion, it’s only a one-hour segment of most believer’s week.  Its entire focus is outbound, dividing creation from its creator, when in fact the two are completely indivisible. It’s predicated on a dogma that is archaic and non-sensical.  Its ritualized, rehearsed, redundant mental conjecture, which requires very little to no thought or self-discovery, nor does it require a peering into the abyss because the answers are all provided in advance.  It doesn’t advocate an inward journey but rather an external projection to connect with a divine entity, “out there” beyond the physical realm.

Before the age of technology and all the countless diversions from one’s self that come with it, men had accessed a much deeper reality.  The ancient wisdom of countless sages who penetrated the veil of this physical reality by going beyond “mind” and “thought” has been almost entirely forgotten and replaced by an epidemic of amnesia, an unknowing of who and what we truly are.

We in the western world, as opposed to those in the eastern world, have chosen an institutionalized, somewhat spoon-fed way of thinking (or lack thereof) and seeing ourselves and the world that surrounds us, over a much deeper and profound knowledge discovered by Buddha and other ascended masters, that lies beyond the wellspring of thoughts that are constantly bubbling up inside us.  We have divided ourselves into our essence and our persona by dissociating with our true essence and replacing it with a surface personality, with an ego, and countless societal labels, distractions, and technology.

Buddha said, in the Kalama Sutra, “in order to ascertain the truth, one must doubt ALL traditions, scriptures, teachings, and all the content of one’s mind and senses.”

Truth and essence lie beyond all such things; beyond our persona, beyond thinking, beyond the mind.  In stillness, we find ourselves by discovering there is no “self.”  That may be bothersome to some, but I for one take comfort in knowing I’m connected to everything, that I have no beginning and no end, that I’m part of a whole, that I’m limitless, eternal, and exist both within and without.

Love and Light to you in your continued journey of Self-Discovery.

7 Comments on “Maya – The Illusion of “Self” Part 5: The Importance of Knowing Ourselves

  1. Pingback: Maya – The Illusion of “Self” Part 4: Connected to All of Existence | SHIFT ETHOS

  2. What a beautiful series of articles that encompasses all there is to know. Thank you, kindred spirit! 🙂


    • Thank you so much Lolo! Glad you found them worthwhile. I’m honored by your feedback. Seems like few read anymore. Not many are willing to take a deep dive into the world that surrounds them, much less the world within, so I’m always appreciative of those who take the time to read my writings. They’re intended to provide perspective.

      Beautiful picture by the way. As an empath, you have a very old and expansive energy about you. There’s a lot of wisdom behind those eyes!

      Thanks again for your feedback and taking the time to read the series. Hope you enjoy my other writings. Keep in touch!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear David, thank you for this beautiful reply.

    Many people should read your articles, they are so comprehensive, you actually take an educational approach to elevating your reader’s consciousness. Using different paths (all ultimately pointing to the same direction), you induce the much needed shift in consciousness in your reader’s mind, with great compassion. You include it all (as a true advocate of inclusion…): spirituality, quantum physics, the analogy with the dream… I wrote a small book in 2013 called the Forgetful Gods and it has the same table of contents, it is quite spooky! 🙂 (I stopped publishing it as I wanted to reformulate it, it is much less articulate than your articles!) I am particularly in awe of the way you describe our lives as market products, this resonated so much in me, and many many people should read it! I am also in awe of your work regarding environmental protection. The Earth is indeed a living being, we are part of it, not on it… You should publish books. Our human world needs voices like yours.

    Thank you so much for your compliments, for seeing me, and beyond. I am very touched by your “vision” of me. I surely feel like an old soul. 😉

    I will read all your articles as I am sure they will contain much wisdom. It is so pleasant to be in the presence, albeit virtual, of a being to whom I can relate.

    Love and care.


  4. Thank you Lolo. Your words are very kind.

    We’re all connected. I just wish people could see it, feel it. There’d be no violence, greed, criminality, cruelty, or disregard for the environment and its inhabitants in the world, if only people could see that.

    I’m glad you provided a picture with your comments. I like to “see” those who share their thoughts with me. Seeing even just a picture allows me to “feel” the other person, their energy, their age (in non-linear time – old soul, young soul), and even their level of awareness (in a slumber wrestling with their karma, aware, or awake), which as an “empath” is both blessing and a curse, but considerably more of a blessing. I like “feeling” people’s energy. Reminds me there’s more to our reality than the density of energies we perceive with our 5 senses, as the “physical world.”

    As a former Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, Earth & Environmental Science teacher, this originally started out as an environmental sustainability educational website. But as a student of eastern mysticism and the yogic sciences, mixed with my background in the sciences, I realized I couldn’t get anyone interested in caring about or saving the planet until I could connect them to it. It was at that point that my website roughly a year ago took on a very different approach.

    I decided to try connecting the reader to the essence and ethereal aspect of what they are, “the source,” (not separate from it), a palpable unity with EVERYTHING there is, that can be felt. We, in the physical sense, are all just points of consciousness enmeshed in what is perceived as a physical universe (even though it could be argued it’s not physical at all), recycling an ever changing universe. We ARE the universe, creating and recycling it. There is no beginning and no ending. Every thing is in endless transition.

    My “MEET YOUR HOST” tab of my website, used to explain the progression of my spirituality, which originally started as a scientific endeavor and pursuit, to make life make sense to me, but ended up becoming a spiritual awakening. I truncated it, because it was a rather detailed account, that gave a very stepwise progression of my journey from a strictly “scientific” approach to life to the integration of science and spirituality which allowed me to truly understand things on a much deeper level. I think I saved the old version. I’d be curious to see if there are elements of my journey that you’d relate to, in contrast to you own. I’d love to hear about your journey.

    I’m curious. What lead you to my website? I only ask because, there are no accidents, and in your words, I sense a determination and persistence to you in your search to define the connection I believe you already feel to everything around you. Do you have a website as well?

    Also, I don’t know if you’re on Facebook or instagram, but if you’d like, I have a page on Instagram – thewisdomchain – where I post excerpts and elements from my writings in bit size portions (memes) if you’d be interested in such little reminders.

    Love & Light to you!

    Look forward to hearing from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for some remarkable reads! I’ve been reading Sadhguru lately and your writings fit nicely with my current explorations. One thing that I can’t seem to get past is this: I am not my mind, I am not my body. Okay, i got this. However, if I am neither of these things, then how am I supposed to feel connected to the universe at large, when I am tryin to seperate myself from the physical form? It seems paradoxical that I should try and feel connected to everything, yet try to seperate myself from my mind and body. I would love to hear your throughts on this and thanks again for your blogs. Take care.


  6. Hi Peter!

    I’m happy my writings resonated with you. Your questions are very legitimate, and they show me that you are very contemplative about LIFE. You’re in good company! I’ve been wired like this since I was a child. I too, had all the same questions. And let me start with the admonition that there is no short answer to your questions. I would encourage your to email me at where I can provide more resources to you. My answer here is going to be truncated, as I have to go to work. My apologies.

    That said, we are living in such extraordinary times where science and spirituality are starting to mesh, but this confluence carries with it the foreboding perils of ego, that lead us into thinking we’ve actually got a good grasp on what this whole thing called LIFE is. We haven’t a clue…

    Despite centuries of inquiry, research, and countless investigations, we still cannot define LIFE or consciousness, we can only observe them as a phenomenon we cannot quite explain. Just as we cannot “see” light, but rather only what stops or reflects light (a much longer explanation is needed here, which I could provide but don’t have the time right now), we cannot “see” LIFE, only what contains it. That statement I would imagine is only going to take you deeper down the “rabbit hole” leading to more confusion, not my intention.

    Quick question: Did you have a chance to read all 5 writings in the Maya Series? I only ask this so as to not repeat myself here . . .

    Your questions show the unfortunate limitations of our language, which conversely limits our understanding. We’re always limited by our ability to define things, at least on a cognitive level.

    The fundamental problem that all of us have in trying to define life is that everything we think is only a memory. Every “thought” we have is only a permutation of what’s been taught to us. Therefore, our entire construct of reality has been prescribed. We only “see” what we’ve been “taught” to see. Every label we pin on everything, even terms like life, and consciousness, are terms we have created in our feeble attempt to identify things with precision.

    “YOU” exist beyond form, beyond thought, beyond name; not because you “think” you do, but not because you’re not even the one doing the thinking. Birth and death are products of “form.” You are “formless.”

    A simple exercise . . . In a very contemplative state, close your eyes and settle into your breathing. Relax, and ask yourself a question. “Who am I?” I promise you, no matter what label bubbles up to the surface of your consciousness, you will see with little exploration, that whatever adjective, such as your name, your species, your nationality, your religion, etc., will not define “YOU.” It will only define everything you “think of” as you. “YOU” cannot be defined, because “YOU” cannot be found and you don’t exist in the physical sense. The body is yours, but it is not “YOU.”


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