The imaginary 'me'

Omkaradatta's picture

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Someone made a comment fairly recently on a blogging, a comment that I found remarkable in being simultaneously one of the silliest and falsest statements I've heard in a long time. The comment was "even a child knows the difference between reality and imagination".

Is this true? Are we living in reality, or in imagination?

Most adults on this planet are literally walking around with an imaginary playmate, a playmate they call 'themselves' or 'me'. This entity is no more real than Santa Claus, and could actually be called less real -- we see a department-store Santa on occasion, but the 'me' is nowhere to be found; it is in imagination only.

The notion of 'personal growth' is particularly absurd -- we are doing nothing but collecting memories. We're born with an empty hard drive, and die with a full one -- that's it. There's nothing there to 'grow' but the complexity of thought.

The body is not 'me' either... the body is appearing in consciousness. It is in us, we are not in it. It happens to us; we perceive it, or we think about it. It is an object among objects, yet most of our desires and fears relate to it.

In order to awaken, we need to become comfortable with aloneness. We no longer get to sit around while alone and think about 'me and my issues', make plans for this comforting friend we're imagining. When we're alone, we're alone -- there's nobody there with us, no self. This actually turns out to be a relief; we can sit in a state of alert peace for any length of time, without desires or fears arising related to this thought-person.

It's clear here that most folks have no clue about what is real, and what isn't. People are confused, although this confusion is natural. Perhaps ONLY a child knows the difference between reality and imagination, a very small child. About the time fears of monsters in the closet or under the bed begin to arise, the ego is becoming well-established, the habit of thinking about 'me'.

We are all capable of telling the difference between reality and imagination; all we have to do is begin to discriminate. We have met the enemy, and it is us. Now, all we have to do is realize that it isn't there.

Phroggy's picture


Yes, a child is aware that he is playing 'king of the hill' with his friends, and when mom calls him in for dinner, the fantasy is left on the pile of dirt. The adult plays that game most or all of his life and never thinks to leave it on the playground where it belongs. It has become far too real.

The child lays in bed and dreams of flying to chocolate planets with caramel rivers, but he's not dissapointed when he wakes to find a breakfast of corn flakes and orange juice. The adult dreams of oppulent lifestyles and devoted lovers and forgets that such dreams are not real and despises anyone who gets in his way.

It's true that all of it is imagination, even the imaginer, but imagination never caused suffering, but believing that these thoughts are real nearly always does.

Phroggy | Sat, 10/25/2008 - 23:44
Omkaradatta's picture


"It's true that all of it is imagination, even the imaginer, but imagination never caused suffering, but believing that these thoughts are real nearly always does."

If one knows the difference between reality and imagination, then imagination ceases to cause suffering. In terms of 'me' though, merely an intellectual knowledge isn't enough (as I'm sure you're aware of)... it has to be 'known' in the same way we know we exist. And therein lies probably THE major source of confusion... we take our existence to be existence as a 'me', and believe that when the 'me' goes away we cease to exist, that we are 'missing' somehow. Quite the opposite turns out to be the case, but this belief is probably the major source of ego's denial and the various spiritual traps folks fall into. It doesn't seem to matter that various masters have stated the "I" is like a candle compared to the sun of reality... people tend to believe that the loss of the ego constitutes their death, despite the fact that they were never there to begin with ;-).

Omkaradatta | Sun, 10/26/2008 - 01:03
Phroggy's picture


I think somewhere we get the notion that Truth is always sposed to feel good and look pretty but in fact it's mercilless on illusion and there are no compromises.

Phroggy | Sun, 10/26/2008 - 04:43