Moods, peanuts, and no self

Moods pass like clouds in the sky. One minute you are stressed about a new stain on the couch and 15 minutes later you are cracking up at a text conversation with your friend.

You are both of those people: the regretful person and the laughing person. Or, if you take a Buddhist approach, there is no “you”; there are the momentary circumstances that passed. The experiences happened, and they ended, as do all experiences.

We have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which means we don’t typically recognize it is the same “us” upset about the carpet and then laughing at the jokes.

We don’t have much awareness for continuity of experience. We split to survive or were never integrated to begin. We had dirty-us who was sexually abused and had to suffer, funny-us who could protect us by playing life cool, angry-us to protect from humiliation and other dangers, and all the other wonderful us’s who protect us.

Trying to practice Buddhist psychology while having DID is like trying to overcome a peanut allergy so that you can build up your tolerance for peanuts to the point you can eat peanut butter sandwiches–with the ultimate goal of giving up peanuts altogether.

(Not trying to minimize peanut allergy; no offense intended.)

We are trying to create a sense of continuity of experience so that all of our me’s know they are safe now (which they are; our traumas are over)–with the ultimate goal of discarding the notion of “selfhood.”

That is a trip! Hahaha! Best of luck, right? Right!

Don’t tell the Wrights they can’t build a flying machine. Don’t tell Marie Curie she won’t prove radioactivity. Don’t tell us we won’t find a safe-us in order to dissolve the concept of “us.”

Possibility is being nothing. Possibility is being everything.

Encouragement speeds the journey.

2 thoughts on “Moods, peanuts, and no self

  1. Fantastic post! And DID might actually give you a leg up when it comes to Buddhism.

    One day, someone asked Linji how it was when he was in a happy mood. “Sun-faced Buddha.” And when he was unhappy? “Moon-faced Buddha.” Practice is a two-step process. Step one is seeing that what we call the self isn’t continuous, that it’s a stream of selves each arising from the situation. You’ve already got step one done, so you can disregard all the teachings and methods that are designed to deconstruct the sense of self, none of you need them.

    Step two is looking at what remains, what’s present in each experience. This brings us the True Self, the True Nature that all of you share, that we all share, that you equally are. Sun-faced and moon-faced, what’s the common ground? What remains even as everything else changes?

    On another note, here’s a classic Zen koan featuring Master Yunyan that I immediately took a shine to:

    Yunyan was making tea. Daowu asked him, “Who are you making tea for?”
    Yunyan said, “There’s someone who wants it.”
    Yunyan said, “Why don’t you let him make it himself?”
    Yunyan said, “Fortunately, I’m here to do it.”

    🙂 Thanks for posting, and I appreciate you.

    Liked by 2 people

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