Step 1 of the traditional Buddhist meditation on emptiness.
Extract: The thing we grasp at most tightly is our own self or me. It’s exhausting, actually. We are all wandering around day and night clinging to this painful limited version of ourselves, one that no one else can even see; and it is incredibly important to see exactly how we are doing it and then stop doing it.
Extract: If we don’t know how to stop holding on, it is hard to let go and reimagine ourselves because we don’t realize we exist in that state of freedom. This is why we need to do the meditation on the emptiness of our self. Once we can dissolve away our stuck sense of self, we can start being who we want to be. We can change everything.
Extract: This self that we normally perceive — that concrete, limited, often painful self — is just the object of an idea, a really stupid idea at that, made up by our self-grasping ignorance. However, relating to it as if it actually exists makes us want stuff for it all the time and to constantly try to push its problems away with aversion.
Extract: The thing is, regardless of our circumstances, and wherever we find ourselves in samsara, the only way we are going to finally get away from our suffering is if we learn how to increase our inner peace and, above all, learn how to dissolve all suffering into (bliss and) emptiness. We need to take time to do this every single day.
Extract: In the same way, this limited self has never existed and so it is not the problem – it is our belief in it that is the problem. Buddha is pointing out that the object of our self-grasping simply does not exist, 100% does not exist. If we realize this, we’ll relax. Profoundly relax. If you are somewhat new to the idea of emptiness, you can think “My self is just an idea; I can let it go.”