Wildmind’s online course, The Great Mystery of Being: A Practical Introduction to the Experience of Non-Self, begins on Wednesday, September 20th.
The greatest insights that the Buddha had are that our sense of self is a burden that we drag around with us, and that it’s possible to lay down that burden.
The six element practice is a beautiful and poetic reflection on impermanence, interconnectedness — and especially non-self.
The practice encourages us to examine everything that we take to be “us” and “ours” and teaches us to see that nothing in the mind or body truly belongs to us.
In fact the concept of there being an “us” that anything can belong to is subjected to close analysis.
It does this by examining each of the “elements” that constitutes the body and mind:
- Earth — everything solid within the body
- Water — everything liquid within the body
- Fire — all energy within the body
- Air — anything gaseous within the body
- Space — our sense of separateness
- Consciousness — our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings
Over the course of six weeks we’ll explore each of these elements in turn, and see how everything that we take to be “us” is in fact merely “borrowed” from the outside world.
In time, our illusion of having a separate and permanent self can be seen through. No longer do we have to worry about whether the “self” we thought we had is good enough, worthy enough, capable of becoming awakened, etc. Instead we come to a direct perception of the thoroughgoing nature of impermanence, so that our “self” is nothing more than a dance of ever changing experiences. Accompanying this is a profound sense of release, relief, and confidence.
There’s no promise that these six weeks will take you all the way to awakening, but you’ll certainly experience a shift in how you perceive yourself. You’ll at least experience a taste of liberation.