Friday, 12 August 2011


Are you sitting comfortably?  Then let’s begin.

Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman, and one day an urge overtook both of them and they fell rapaciously on each other, in a lustful frenzy; completely consumed by the irresistable compulsion to screw each others' brains out.  

Because they were caught up in the physical possession that had consumed them, they forgot that neither of them had taken precautions against pregnancy.

Which meant that nature took its course and one of the man's seed made its epic journey to impregnate the ripe and ready egg. As the sperm wriggled its way up through the inner chambers of the female, guided by a hormonal signal, it impregnated the ovum, fusion took place, and so began the process of the formation of a human being. 
The cells divided and divided and divided according to the DNA within the male sperm and the female egg, and those cells slowly differentiated into aspects of a human body - some became tissue cells, some muscle cells, some nerve cells, etc., etc., - until after about 3 months had passed, all the organs and limbs were formed, and continued to mature and develop in order to fulfil their function.

Now, many things happened during the 40 weeks or so following that mad, lustful episode, but the greatest of these was the day that the female's body secreted another hormone that triggered certain muscles to contract and squeeze, and expel the now fully-formed human baby out of the warm and safe environment that had nurtured it so successfully.

And a child was born.   

And was celebrated.  

And caused great joy.   

And massive exhaustion: Its parents were perplexed and confused by this squalling, gurgling ball of humanity.  They fed and tended the infant, and it grew and matured.  They tickled it, and it laughed.  They forgot to feed it, and it cried.  They shouted at it when it wouldn't sleep, and it screamed. 

But mostly they loved it.  And, as they had been taught by their parents, they urged it to crawl, and then to stand, and walk, and to copy the sounds they made. 

Then one day, the mother was holding the toddler and looking into a mirror and she pointed at the image of the child and said 'That's you'.  She pointed to the child's chest and said 'you', and pointed back again at the face in the mirror and said 'you'.  And the child looked and saw a face; separate from that next to it, and suddenly realised that it was a person separate from everything around it.  

The mother and the father continued to raise the child, and told it that it was 'their' child, and that it had a name and that whenever it did something it chose to do that.  So, when the child was given spinach to eat and didn't like the taste, father told it that it was being fussy and was naughty.  And when the infant was unable to fall asleep when its parents laid it in its bed, the mother scolded it for staying awake on purpose. 

Over time, the natural processes and reactions of the human being were assumed to be caused and controlled by that little person.  And it felt a feeling of pride when it seemed that it was able to do something right, and a sense of shame when it felt that it had done something wrong.  But the most significant thing that happened was that now there was a belief that this little person had, which was; that it was causing itself to happen; was controlling its actions and preferences and aversions and thoughts and feelings.

And so a second birth took place; the birth of the belief of self.

The person grew into adulthood, striving to be a better self, by working ON itself. It tried hard at school, worked diligently at work, was kind to friends, family and old people, and never kicked the dog.  

It earned money, bought a house, found a partner, and in its turn had some children, and tried to be a good parent and a good partner and a good child... but....

One day, standing outside smoking a guilty fag, it wondered 'how did I get here?  In this life? This wasn't what I planned'.  

It started looking for a reason why.  Looking for meaning to its existence, and came across someone who told it to meditate, to still the mind; find peace and enlightenment.  Because that was the ultimate meaning for a human being - to become enlightened, liberated. 

It tried the hardest it ever had; realised that love and money and work didn't bring happiness, but felt that this ultimate goal would.

So it meditated and practiced mindfulness and found that sometimes the thoughts quietened and there was a feeling of peace, and sometimes even bliss.  But then maybe the phone would ring and feelings of irritation would emerge, and it was right back to being a frustrated seeker.  The search became more and more desperate as it read more books, and watched endless DVD's and podcasts,and attended satsangs about this elusive goal of enlightenment.... and still couldn't get it.

Not once, though ... not once .. did it stop to consider that it was a lie.  That the idea it had - that it was a self, was just that... an idea.  That this idea was itself just a thought, a story.  Just like the story it told its children about the tooth fairy.
It never stopped to question why it put a £1 coin under a child's pillow in the middle of the night, and how this was creating the lie of the existence of a tooth fairy.  

How could it ever see that the whole of the society and culture that it lived in colluded in supporting the lie that there was a central character that lived a life.

It never stopped to consider how the belief had originated, because it didn't even know that it was a belief - it thought it was the truth.

BUT, life was being a kind Dame and one day it happened on someone who knew what was real and who loved to speak about it, and a conversation took place whereby this hapless human had the simple and obvious truth pointed out.

It went something like this:
"You don't need to see through a self.  Or find your self.  Or transcend your self.  Or dissolve your self.

Because: There is no self.   

There never was.

So you can't see through it, because it doesn't exist now, and it never has.  It was only ever an idea.

A thought that was produced by a brain that was given an instruction from other people that was constantly reinforced until it was a pervading belief.

But it was never true.  

It isn't now.

And it realised what liberation is - realising that there is no such thing as self.  Just seeing that whenever there is the thought of 'I', it is exactly and only that; a thought.

And it couldn't believe how simple it was.  How laughably obvious and easy.  That all there had ever been, and is, and would be, is life - alive and constantly changing with no need of being directed or controlled.

It saw, with absolute clarity, that all there is; is emptiness at the centre of where it thought it was.

Emptiness that is alive and free to be exactly as it is.

It thanked the person who had pointed out the fiction, and carried on being lived as it always had been, loving the aliveness and revelling in the fiction.

And it lived happily ever after.

Until it didn't!


  1. And that's it. Perfect!

    Print it, put cardboard ends on it and sell it on Amazon. A perfectly told story. Truth doesn't have to be long and drawn out, does it?

    Great work, Viv! Great!

  2. Thanks, Mike - glad to see you posting again - too - very good stuff. Seeky peeps - you should TM that.

    So, when I publish, will you write a foreword, saying something like: "This is the clearest pointer to the ever-present reality of consciousness, manifesting in a pure expression of that which we always are."

    Ooh, sorry, I'll just extract my tongue out of my cheek! ;-)

  3. Naw, it'll probably end up something like this (to match this Southern thing I'm surrounded by):

    "Y'all need to read this shit right here!"

    That should do it. ;)

  4. damn viv, that's exactly what i was thinking too... but i'm late as always! Beautiful representation through story telling. You should do like steven norquist did and just put one sentence per page.. and turn it into a book (agreed with the above comments).

    Lovin the post, definitely gets right down to the point I might just "tweet" it :P

  5. @ Mike - that's the one! That'll do it! ;-)

    @ Msr Zenkitties - one sentence per page, ya say.... hmmmm. Na, Couldnt live with myself (who?).
    Ooooh, please do tweet - I like a good tweet! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. Well, the tears wouldn't stop coming especially at this paragraph - Then one day, the mother was holding the toddler and looking into a mirror and she pointed at the image of the child and said 'That's you'. She pointed to the child's chest and said 'you', and pointed back again at the face in the mirror and said 'you'. And the child looked and saw a face; separate from that next to it, and suddenly realised that it was a person separate from everything around it.

    And I was watching a movie about a study the other day where they put a sticker on a child's face and have her play in front of a mirror and they look to see the age at which children identify that it is 'their' face on which the sticker fits. And 18 months was the age in which they internalized the idea of 'me' in this study. And no one even hesitated very much as though it was a momentous event in the unfolding of life. Interesting as usual.
    Thanks so much for this. Gonna send it on to a bunch of folks.

  7. Hi Gill
    Sorry to have made you cry! It's interesting that you mention the film about a study on the emergence of identity, there was something on TV here the other day on the same subject.
    Thanks for reading and commenting and for forwarding and now I know who you are!

    Very envious of your life-style...

  8. Absoluteness. perfectly, well said.
    This is Thee story...

  9. Hi Anon

    Who are you? Thanks for the comments.

    It's all a story, eh?

  10. Loved this. Thanks Viv ! - Diego Stargazer

  11. Like.

    Spot on Viv, could not agree more. All based on a belief that was never questioned, it is that simple.

  12. Thank YOU Diego.

    @ Gho$T - Yup!

  13. More importantly perhaps, I think it is the greatest story ever BELIEVED... ;)

  14. I usually like your blog, but I feel this post is way off!

    Children at around 18 months have understood the concept and working of a mirror - that's all that's going on here.

    Differentiation is a key skill in life - we have to be able to tell the difference between soap and soup.
    We also need to be able to tell the difference between my leg and yours.

    Problems of identity occur when we identify with stories we are told or tell about ourselves.

  15. @Suki - And that's the crux - why we believe the story.

    @Jim - thanks for reading and for the comment. I'm not denying the ability for a toddler to understand the concept of a reflection in a mirror, but that, at that age, it takes on and believes that it is separate and has autonomy over it's actions, in fact,believes that it is an 'IT'. Differentiation is the case, whether or not there is a belief in separation.

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  17. Absolutely first rate Vivality. The thing was I has notions of non-existence when I was five years old while sitting in primary school. I looked around at my class and thought to myself "You know what? I don't exist, and you lot don't either" I never ever had that feeling ever again, although I never forgot it either. It got me thinking that a child's mind is a wonderful thing, not shaped or formed by rules and regulations, just totally free.