In order to live in this three-dimensional world, our mind has created a construction called “me”. Through this “I”, we get to know each other and relate to others.
We tend to believe that this “I” exists, that it is actually our essence. However, from Buddhism, they give us an alternative idea … that the “I” is just a projection of the mind and that without it it would not exist.
“I” = Projection of the mind
We tend to think that this “I” that we are, our identity, personality and way of seeing life, exists beyond the mind. Yet Buddhists tell us that this is not the case.
This character that you have built all your life, it is not independent of the mind, in fact it is a projection of it.
From Buddhism it is said that the “I” is mentally constructed and is void of inherent existence, that is, it depends on our mind to exist. The good news is that we can modify our mind and that is why our “I” changes continuously (Zopa Rinpoche, L., 2019).
We are afraid of change, especially when a deep internal change occurs in us, because we feel that we are disappearing, that we are becoming diluted. And that makes us have a lot afraid, because if we stop being who we are … then who will we be?
I think that in the West we have an unhealthy relationship with change. We see in him our enemy instead of something natural. Because change is natural, it is everywhere and it is good, because that way we can let go of pain, suffering, anxiety, stress and depression.
In reality change fills us with hope
And profound change not only modifies our emotions, it also changes our personality, our way of seeing life. That is to say, our “I” changes.
Sometimes we cling so much to the person we were that we lose ourselves and suffer deeply. And what makes us suffer it is not the change itself, but our desire to remain static, of resisting an evolution that is natural in us.
Surely it has happened to you at some time, that you have changed internally … perhaps consciously or perhaps it has been life that has shaped you. The fact is that the change has occurred, but there are people who continue to treat you as the person you were and that fills you with anger, because they do not see in you what you know about yourself.
When this occurs, you must maintain patience. Give the other person time to update their idea of you and in the meantime, behave like the person you are now.
On the way, also update the concept you have of yourself, because perhaps others do not see your current “I” because you resist showing it or living from it.
The relationship with your “I”
Buddha said that the only way to find our happiness is to abandon that “I” that is unhappy, because when we renounce it, only serenity and pure consciousness remain within us. Our happiness and the end of suffering depend on our abandoning ourselves to the present, that we put aside excessive planning that only brings concern, thus freeing ourselves from suffering (Khema, A., 2013).
Jose Javier García Campayo, says that each human being develops a concrete relationship with his “I”, although it can vary between two extremes (García Campayo, J., 2020):
Complete identification with the “I or ego” that lives in the mind and body, as well as with the social roles that each one plays in this life.Recognize that the “I or ego” is insubstantial and impermanent (constantly changing). In this case, we identify with a non-personal consciousness, not limited to the current body and mind. This idea of ”I” usually arises when we raise our level of consciousness and develop our spirituality.
See which extreme you approach the most and decide if you want to continue there or if you want to advance.
On some occasions, the character that I have created in this life, prevents me from seeing things from a broader perspective. That is why it is very useful for me to temporarily step out of my “suit of me” to remember that I am not always right and that I see things as I am, not as they really are.
Sometimes it is necessary to distance ourselves from the “I” to see more clearly and so that our rational mind allows us space and have a broader perspective about life and ourselves.
If you want to develop a new “you”, I can help you. You can click here and tell me what you want to change.
The next time you cling to an idea or thought … remember that everything changes, even you
García Campayo, J. (2020). Emptiness and non-duality. Meditations to deconstruct the “I”. Barcelona editorial Kairós.
Khema, A. (2013). Who is my I? The original teachings of the Buddha on consciousness. Barcelona, Editorial Kairós.
Zopa Rinpoche, L. (2019). The Four Noble Truths. A guide to everyday life. Barcelona, Kairós publishing house.