Thank you for joining me. Now, I’d like to talk about the illusion of “not.” Today, this illusion is somewhat grouped together with the illusion of “me” and “other.” Because with the sense of “me,” there’s always “other,” but what we consider “not” is something that we actively identify with, repel, or push away. We draw a line in the sand, metaphorically speaking, but in reality, it’s like drawing a line on a beach. You could say you divided the beach, but did you really divide it? Of course not. It’s just a variation in the sand. You didn’t actually divide anything. It’s all still a beach, all right there.
So, when we create this division of “I am this” and “I am NOT that,” “I did this” and “I did not do that,” it’s like drawing a line in the sand—an imaginary and arbitrary division. I mention this because, although we consciously like to think that what we are aware of and what we consciously control is who we are and what we do, it’s a bit of a logical leap. For example, if I can move my hand, I say, “I did this, I’m doing this,” and I am NOT feeling the plant behind me or consciously controlling it. It’s a strange division we make because, upon investigation, there is much that we are not consciously aware of or in control of.
Consider our own bodily functions. We are not consciously aware of or in control of the brain, the pineal gland, the thyroid gland, and many other parts of the body. Even the breath is a bit of an “either/or” situation. We can consciously and willfully breathe in and out, feeling the act of breathing. But most of the time, when we are not actively thinking about it, breathing continues on its own. We are not consciously aware of it or doing it, yet it happens. So, it’s a peculiar division to say that because we don’t feel the plant or consciously control it, it’s not part of us. It overlooks the many parts within our own bodies that we are not consciously aware of.
Furthermore, the notion of “not” is also an illusion. In reality, all there is, is what is. Wherever you look, there is only “is.” There are no “is not.” You can’t look anywhere and say, “There is an ‘is not.'” It simply doesn’t exist as a separate entity. And to a certain extent, it also points to an illusion. It’s similar to the old analogy of mistaking a snake for a rope. When we say, “It’s not a piece of rope,” we are acknowledging that it appears to be so. It’s an illusion, but what it actually is, is something else.
I want to emphasize that I’m not suggesting we eliminate “not” from our vocabulary. That would be impractical. Through the conventions of speech, being able to express negation serves its purpose, especially for comparison. However, we should not be deceived by the concept of “not.” During my drive here, it occurred to me that we are quite attached to “not.” We have a strong identification with it. We divide ourselves with “not,” saying, “I am not that,” “I didn’t do that.” But if the self is all there is, then there is nothing that you see that you are not. There is no such thing as “not” in the sense of the self because “not” doesn’t exist as a separate entity. If it did, it would be part of the self.
I believe it’s essential to be aware of this attachment to “not.” It’s a way in which the illusion of the “me” continues to strengthen and persist. It relies on the illusion of “not” and our fixation on it. So, I invite you to be aware of it over the next few days and see what insights may arise. Thank you.