Mindfulness practice, as it deepens, is a practical way of relating to thoughts, of working with difficult emotions – especially as they present in body sensations – and finally, and maybe most crucially, a way of relating to our sense of self. One way this may be helpful, in a pragmatic way of dealing with the up’s and down’s of each day, is to continually define ourselves in a fluid, on-going, non-fixed sense, understanding life, as it were, as always being born in each moment. We try to bring attention to these continual little births, seeing how an event or moment gives birth to a new emotion and is followed by a new thought (or more likely, a re-hashing of familiar, old patterns of thought). Rather than allowing that thought take hold, identifying with it and making it part of our story, we can let it pass through. Rather than attaching some of our identity to these moments, and the narrative that accompanies them , we can hold ourselves lightly, not limiting ourselves to the moods we experience or the judgmental thoughts they generate. In this way we can develop a sense of ease as we no longer feel the need to defend the “self” created by them.
Once we are able to perceive that there is change only, and that we ourselves are part of the change, there is no longer anything to possess, no me to possess, no such things as possession. Moreover, I can understand that the impulses that torment me have no more solidity and fixity than any other event. If anger, for instance, were to possess any independent, real existence, then I would be faced with a great problem, for it would existing me apart from other internal or external causes, a constant personality defect with which I would have to cope. However, since anger is a momentary state arising from conditions and then subsiding because of other conditions, when it is gone, it is really gone, extinct. I am thus not intrinsically an angry person, nor a good person, or any other kind of person.
Francis Cook, Hua-yen Buddhism