How can a non-dual expert prove that the separate me does not exist?

By Daniel Shai at

Also at: Daniel Shai home page, Quora

I want to share this here, simply because more people should know about it. If you enter fully into it and do it, it can really change who you think you are! Read it in full below, or use this link to read it on Quora:

Point at the wall. Do you see (name) there? C’mon, do it! If you want proof you must be willing to do an experiment. There is no proof in mere words, is there? You have to approach it scientifically and take seriously what you find. No (name) in the wall, right? Ok, now point to the floor? Is (name) there? No? Ok. Now point to that foot dangling over there — is (name) there? I mean if (name) is in that foot, s/he must be small enough to fit in there, and must be covered with blood, I suggest. How would (name) breathe in there anyway? Ok. Now point your finger to that belly, just sitting there approximately mid-body. Is (name) there? Now point at the chest — is (name) there? Take what you see. (Name) is either there or not. It’s a clear yes or no. In our scientific inquiry there is no room for stories, memories and imagination — we are looking on present evidence only.

You have not found (name) anywhere yet. That is, you have not seen him/her.

Now continue the journey inwards [We started at the wall and came closer and closer yet to where we suspect (name) might be]: point at where others see your face. On present evidence alone (no memory or imagination) what do you seeDo you see (name) here?

WHO has been looking for him/her self? WHO has been looking at the wall, floor, foot, belly, chest and now at where you’re looking from? Only a thought will tell you it’s (name). But being scientific we can’t believe thought — we have to go according to evidence. Is there a name tag here with your name on it? Is there any shred of evidence that says (name) is looking? Why, if you see what you see (and not what you thinkyou see) you must admit you see nothing.

[If you have just read and not done the experiment, your loss. But if you knew WHAT you lose out on, you would weep.]

But it’s not just plain old nothing: it’s an awake nothing! It’s not really nothing, then, is it? “Something” is awake, and looking, but it’s not a thing. This no-thing is awake right now, here, present-tense, aware, alive. It holds the whole scene/seen.

In concluding we have to admit that we failed to find the self we thought we are — (name). If we look at what we found, without telling stories and philosophizing, why we found a wall, a floor, a foot, a belly, a chest and… bare emptiness. No self [(name)] anywhere. The emptiness we found where we’ve been looking from all along is space for everything we see. The uncontained container. An awake no-thing in which all things appear.

Isn’t this awake no-thing always here? But when it comes to the separate self — we can’t even find it. Yet the Self we find anytime we care to look at what’s looking. WHO’s really here? That’s the question! You’ve been told (name) is here — looking, smelling, tasting, thinking… and you bought into it. As a baby you had no concept of that one that goes by your name. You bought into it as you grew up. And now you find that if you simply see what you see rather than what you imagine, there is no such separate self here.

We are not totally done, though. Because when you stand in front of a mirror or when you think about (name), why there is the one you took to be yourself — in appearance or thought. I repeat THERE is that little one. Not HERE. Where you are looking out of. Here it is timelessly empty (time does not apply to no-thing), “The Land of Everlasting Clarity” — awake clarity. Empty for that appearance in the mirror. Empty for that thought that comes and goes in the emptiness. Don’t believe me, test it! You ask how can a non-dual expert can prove there is no separate self, and I say once you test it for yourself why you begin to become the non-dual expert by being the non-dual Reality itself. You may not know the scriptures, but you have the experience – and that’s FAR FAR FAR FAR more valuable. And the whole guru scene begins to collapse for you. Hierarchy in non-duality?!? To tell you that I see something you don’t?! What crazy-talk! We both see no-thing where our heads should be. That’s plain obvious. We both see the world where we were told a head was mounted. This emptiness… is naught but form. This form… is naught but emptiness. “We both” are the One looking.

So go and stand in front of a mirror and see that your appearance is 4,5, maybe 6 feet away — but the Spot you occupy is at zero distance from yourself. Emptiness Here, form there. You are not your appearance, are you? You are the space in which it appears.

Now think about (name). Whoops, s/he just popped up. What pops up is surely not always there. It pops up and pops out. But the space in which it pops up is ever-present, timelessly. You are Capacity for thought. Thought, too, is an appearance.

You are always here. Who you think you are is occasionally appearing here. You are not an appearance, but all appearances are of you.

Yea, I know, you may not want to accept Who you really are. “I’m the Self? Get out of here!” But that’s ok. Keep seeing, relying only on present evidence. The emptiness will charm you. There is nothing like this empty clarity that is full of everything. It works quietly and without you noticing you slip out of selfhood and into Selfhood. To put it simply, you stop telling the lie about Who’s here and begin living the truth. Of course, you never were anything else all along, you emptyfullness you!

Experiments such as this we do in our headless hangouts all the time. Just today I guided this exact experiment. I like that you asked for proof, because most non-duality teachings are, at the end of the day, words. (That’s why if anyone is going to bug me about “correct” words, I’m not likely to respond – you either want to see or you don’t. It’s not about words. There are no correct words for this, because the seeing is non-verbal, the words are tools for me to guide the above experiment, to share the vision, and the words are not the no-thing). It’s the whole difference when it is shown. Don’t stay on the words, look at the source of the words — this emptiness here. Until you’re willing to see on and on you read and another YouTube satsang you play.

But even to be shown is not enough: you have to live from the Vision. The Vision of emptiness. Satsang is when a group of friends (not guru-disciple) keep each other connected to the truth of Who one really is. A community of truth-tellers. It’s the One sharing as many, but noticing this fact. One Being — many voices, many appearances, many experiences. Do contact me if you want details regarding headless hangouts. There is no money involved. Just friends. Seeing friends.

Personal experiment log, entry 0:
* Experiment appears to have been conducted at 4pm pacific time, however experiment proved time to be an appearnace of the timeless.
* Findings: no self was found except as an appearance or thought or imagination. It appears the so-called separate self is one’s social or human identity and is a functional thing but is not one’s Central Identity.
* Notes: What I took away from the experiment was: see what you see rather than what you were told to see. See what is given as it is given, rather than imagining. Right now hands are here, visibly, but WHO’s hands are they? Imagination and thought have one fooled, saying they belong to (name). Pure seeing reveals they are just appearances in emptiness. They belong to no one. Or to the emptiness out of which they come. It is a matter of wording. To conclude this note: live in the as is world, not in the as if world.

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