“We live under the assumed identity in a neurotic fairy tale with no more reality than the Mock Turtle in Alice and Wonderland.”
According to Buddhist philosophy, we are all incarnates of previous selves. That is to say, we have all died and been reborn. But death and rebirth can be seen in many shades. The moment your body stops breathing, the instant your heart ceases to beat, this life, as you know it, ends. Reincarnation is the idea that, as one life ends, so another begins. But I think there is a common misunderstanding in this. Buddhist definition of a soul is quite different from that which popular thought propagates. We are not like beads on a necklace, our souls passing through one after another in a linear fashion, ending and beginning, ending and beginning. According to Soygal Rinpoche, “We are more like dice, stacked on top of each other. Between the dice, there is no soul, there is only condition.” So then, these lives, they are separate and yet supported by both past and future lives.
But what happens if we look at death less literally. Aren’t we always dying? Isn’t this very moment dying?
With that in mind, is this moment not completely new? And this one, and now this one, and yet, they are all conditioned in some way by the previous moment and the moments to come, by our supports. Are they not?
And what would happen to this idea if we replaced the word soul with the word identity or personality or character. What would happen if we replaced it with ego?
Would it not mean that our identity is in a state of continual death and rebirth? Wouldn’t that then mean that we are the creators of our own reality, regardless of how conditioned we are by previous identities? Doesn’t this prove to some extent the illusory nature reality?
So taking that thought full circle, I want to ask, why then do we mediate?
We meditate in order to rest upon that space between our supports, where identity ceases to have a strong hold where our ego can be clearly observed as the creative illusion that it is. Where we no longer have to recreate ourselves with every breath. Where we can truly relax, taking refuge in the moment without needing to change it, because let’s face it, all that recreating of “self” is quite exhausting, isn’t it?