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Simple Question About The Self

Hi John,

I am new to Vichara and I have a very simple but serious question. On your website you state the following: The plain truth, known to all, is that the entity that suffers and seeks salvation from the misery of individual existence is actually inexistent/imaginary. My question is this: Are you suggesting that I look at myself in order to discover that my self doesn't really exist? To discover that my self is inexistent as you say? And if my self doesn't exist, then why do I have this undeniable sense of I exist; this I-thought? There must be something there to cause this I-thought and other thoughts to arise, and whatever it is that's causing this, that is what I would call my self. So how can my self not exist? Thank you in advance for clearing up my confusion.



Your intuition is perfect, and you need not doubt your own experience based on any teaching, no matter how ancient, no matter how revered.

Of course you exist, and it is precisely that "undeniable sense of I exist" that I am asking you to look at for just a fraction of a second, whenever it occurs to you to do so.

I am very sorry it has taken me so long to get to this. Please let me know how it is going for you now.

in love,


I'm a great fan of John's way. Nice and simple, cutting through all the crap and, pragmatic. I also went through the same process as the above writer. I feel it really doesn't matter if you think you exist or not. It's a bit like the freewill thing as well. You live your life without need to know. You live and act regardless of any beliefs about an I or no I. It's better to just let those nagging thoughts fizzle out while you look at your self. Everything becomes self evident in the end.

Many teachings talk about the ego not really existing. It's a bit confusing this is. On the one hand the ego only exists as a thought, an idea and in truth thoughts have no independant reality. They require you to be conscious of them for them to be. So they are when you are thinking when you don't think... where have they gone now? You are still there. You are behind all that. You is focused on you living. When "you" is hypnotised by the "me my mine thought train" well you are giving those thoughts life and perpetuating the illusion they project. So the constant looking at yourself is the only solution to break the hypnotic thought habit. It requires intent.

The "me my mine thought train" is a process that uses past information and applies it the present as a reaction. It's main preoccupation is avoiding pain and seeking out pleasure. It is driven by the basic instincts of survival. The greatest driver is fear. We need to look at who we are inclusive of all sensation. Fear is usually repressed by the mind while the thought process is driven to find a way out. There is no way out. Face it and see fear is a sensation. You feel it. It is not you. I'm rambling on and on.... sorry


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