The illusion of self is the anchor of all suffering.
I got that line from your about page. If you could you elucidate for me, that would be helpful.
I doubt I'll fully agree with my own statement but it's an idea I'm exploring, we can likely throw out the word 'all' and replace it with 'a lot' but mindfulness and meditation (foundational in eastern religions) explore the death of the ego. In reality we have verified the obvious. We are biological puppets. Meditation is the best way I have found to observe the strings. A lot of thoughts come and go like, just like sounds, emotions or events outside our control, largely dictated by experience and DNA. Being a biological machine means our actions are automatic in a dramatic way.
I tend to think that most people, including myself, walk through life like zombies repeating patterns of behavior we have been spoon fed or were naturally inclined to. We do not stop to consider the pc in our heads going through these automatic routines.
Deeper, even when we can have real moments of awareness, where we can question all of our automation and thoughts what was really self directed even in that event. I happened to listen to some podcast with Russel Brand that inspired me to take my meditation to a new level that inspired me to learn to be more conscious of my own fundamental core beliefs and awareness.
When did I make that decision, what level of planning was involved in the sharp change, wasn't this just built on Nurture/nature without much involvement from something I would call a goal directed, thoughtful self?
The suffering as well as perhaps the best moments of happiness are often connected to this illusion. I've found more satisfaction recently in simply observing my automatic actions and trying to make small changes when possible. Accepting myself as largely automatic and enjoying the simple ability of observation of my consciousness rather than identifying myself as the 40,000 random thoughts that enter my consciousness on a daily basis along with the flickering emotional echos.
I don't see how self is an illusion. Our behaviors are a sum of the parts, yes, but it is a unique sum.
Sure, but I guess it boils down to what you think of as yourself. Is it the automatic routines you run through everyday or your conscious observation and limited control you exercise over this machine.
Not all actions are automatic routines. This is actually a crux of an issue I've thought about. Modern industrial lives have different day-to-day details, but the pattern is the same. In contrast, a rich billionaire or ancient hunter-gatherer enjoy(ed) a much more varied lifestyle. However, even if there are fewer occasions, everyone runs into a new situation that they can't handle by established routines quite often.
My current opinion on automatic actions is that they can solidify in your mid twenties and may be well established at 18. It's harder and harder not to wake up and become conscious several times a year but I'm going for daily events realizing it's extremely easy to rarely become conscious.