Like the reflection of moon in water
Every morning when you wake up, the first feeling that appears in your mind is that strong sense of ‘I’. ‘I should get up and get ready for work’. “I had an awful dream this night’. ‘I’ should dress well at work place and so on. ‘I’ is the center of our universe. Little do we realize that this very sense of a permanent, self-existing ‘I’ is the very source of all pains and sorrows in the world? The Buddha said it all when he said, “You are your own savior and you are your own enemy. While committing an unwholesome deed you are your own witness”. Let us set to examine this ‘I’ in some detail.
This ‘I’ is a mere label tagged to a composite of matter-mind complex that we call a human being. If you search this ‘I’ you will never find a solid, concrete, independent ‘I’ with all characteristics such as color, shape, size, form etc. This body is not ‘I’. And body parts such as hands, legs, eyes, head are not 'I'. If body parts were 'I', there should be logically equal number of 'I' as that of body parts!! ‘I’ does not dwell in our head, heart, kidney, or bone marrow. The mind separately is not ‘I’ either. Mind depends on the body and body supports the mental activity. The body is in turn is composed of hundreds of thousands of cells, which in turn are composed of proteins, which are made of amino acids, which are in turn formed of carbon and nitrogen molecules. Carbon and nitrogen molecules themselves are in turn formed of atoms and sub atomic particles. So there is nothing of an ‘I’ that we seem to feel very strongly as in when we say ‘My girlfriend is beautiful and I love her.”
We therefore, falsely cling onto a self (I) that does not exist independent of millions of factors as described above. When we strongly grasp on that ‘I’, then such emotions as desire arises as in “I want to buy a car!’. Desire leads to jealousy and hatred! When you see someone driving a sleek Toyota Prado, you feel that pang of not owning that car! That is jealousy. At times, when you see people who possess things that you don’t, you feel like they are showing off and you start to hate them! That’s hatred. When you desire something for long and cannot obtain that object of desire, you curse yourself and blame everyone around you. That’s anger!!! Then you set out to do everything in your disposition to get your object of desire, on the way, you become cold and ruthless. You start telling lies, you become too scheming, and you hurt your friends. Some people even go to the extent of killing their friends and parents so that they can get what they want!!!
Now, if you think in retrospect and find out the root cause of the problem, the answer lies in that strong grasping to an ‘I’ or ‘me’ which does not exist in true sense of independence. How about thinking like this: Since this very sense of ‘I’ or ‘me’ is like an illusion (because it cannot be pinpointed on logical analysis and the furthest and the closest we can get to that sense of ‘I’ is to an interdependent and composite phenomena), there is no point to desire something so strongly. If you do not desire, you will be less angry, less jealous and less scheming, less hating. Yes! You will be more loving, more compassionate, and more open. You will no longer cherish the compliments or despise the criticism. You will realize the people who ridicule you are in fact like priceless jewels who gave you an opportunity to think about the impermanent nature of phenomena.
When you loosen that grip on ‘I’, you will feel that you are no longer a single lonely soul in a cold world, but you will feel like you are a part of every being and everything in this universe. You will feel that even the faintest of a foul thought by you will send ripples in the ocean of interdependence. You will feel that you are like a reflection of a full moon in a pond of still water in the beautiful bamboo grooves of eastern India! You can see the moon in the water in the pond but then sadly and peacefully, that moon does not exist of its own in that pond! It is a mere reflection of the moon thousands of light years away from that pond. And then you feel that you are the universe and the universe is you! How beautiful. How magical!