How can you be sure you have seen through the illusion of self?
I, me or self is nothing but a thought construct, an illusion or a story made up by the mind spurred by the society and family from an early age. As I have argued in another blog below that it is indeed a hard task to see through this illusion even though it is clearly a requirement for awakening by almost all masters, scriptures; modern or ancient.
And there are techniques galore. Every one has new twist on it. Our own method at liberation unleashed is a focus on direct experience. Hindus will have you chant Sanskrit slokas and conduct elaborate rituals, Buddhists meditate for weeks on end. Christians require follow the one and only Jesus and Muslims ask to surrender to Allah. Every one, bar none wants you to drop this ego or the I, me or self.
I recently revisited some of papaji's videos and loved his prescription; just be quiet. So I did for almost a week. I am cheating a bit by watching the video and writing this blog. But in another clip he says you have to use a thorn to take out a thorn. Any way he inspired me to contemplate on how can you be sure that you have indeed seen through this illusion?
This is a practical question for me and several seekers that I have come across. There seems to be residual doubt left in many minds that may be we haven't looked hard enough or we may find this I somewhere. It doesn't help that there is an entire group of teachers who float terms like consciousness, awareness, soul and the awakened one. These to me are just promoting the self out of its current existence into a grander one. Still an illusion, for if there is something beyond, mind will never get it and that means we can't discuss it.
So how do you know that you don't exist? The answer lies in suffering. Suffering is the hallmark of self. No self, no suffering. Pain yes, sensations yes but suffering no. Once the illusion of self has been uncovered, suffering should cease. Thoughts of fear, anger, hate and love will still happen but none of them will cause suffering. Unfortunately for most this is not an overnight or instantaneous shift. It takes time even after the event of disrobing the I. But there is a clear shift in the severity of suffering. So, before if you ruminated over the threat of losing a job for days and weeks, now that may only last a few hours.
Life and living is easier since without the debilitating effect of suffering, you can now handle the pain and fear in a proactive manner. You can do something about an oncoming disaster rather than be frozen into inaction. That is a good thing.