The Daily Dharma – June 17, 2021

Balinese mask hanging on a wall cast in bright contrast lighting.

The Illusory Self

The word “I” embodies the greatest error and the deepest truth, depending on how it is used. In conventional usage, it is not only one of the most frequently used words in language (together with the related words: “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself”) but also one of the most misleading. In normal everyday usage, “I” embodies the primordial error, a misperception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the ego. This illusory sense of self is what Albert Einstein, who had deep insights not only into the reality of space and time but also into human nature, referred to as “an optical illusion of consciousness.” That illusory self then becomes the basis for all further interpretations, or rather misinterpretations of reality, all thought processes, interactions, and relationships. Your reality becomes a reflection of the original illusion.

Eckhart Tolle
from A New Earth; Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Mask Painting Seamus Berkeley