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The Buddha

Completely.

Sound crazy?

One great advantage of not self as the Buddha describes it is that you no longer have anything to feel any stress about.

Our society encourages us to be very goal oriented. We are supposed to have a plan for our lives (!) that includes specific goals, first educational, then career, perhaps for a primary relationship, or other goals that you may choose for yourself. Our goals are usually closely related to our egos, or sense of ourselves as persons.

This idea is so deeply embedded in our culture that it seems necessary, almost an essential feature of human identity. But the Buddha pointed out that all is impermanence and we suffer because we cling.

Pursuing goals is definitely a form of clinging. Whatever goal you pursue is impermanent. Necessarily so. Even if you achieve it, you will do so only for a limited period.

The implication here will likely be a big leap for a lot of people in the United States, but if you start your meditation practice, you may end up there without realizing until you arrive.

You may find yourself free of stress and only later realize that is the result of having no goals.

But the key point is that your meditation practice can alleviate all of your stress if you keep at it long enough.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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