fear or "losing" personality

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

fear or "losing" personality

Postby enitzirk » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:02 pm

Hi, I was wondering whether anyone could help me with this problem i got the other day. while i was just sitting, i felt completely aware, and noticed myself kind of "clearing" up. i then suddenly understood how our essence is all the same (buddha nature?) and although i find this a good thing i got this sudden fear of losing my personality. i know my personality is a changing process, but i fear that if everyone cleared themselves of afflictive thoughts and emotions, would we all just be like happy "clones" ? i found this a bit scary.

Thanks for any advice!
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Re: fear or "losing" personality

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:27 am

enitzirk wrote:
i know my personality is a changing process, but i fear that if everyone cleared themselves of afflictive thoughts and emotions, would we all just be like happy "clones" ? i found this a bit scary.
Thanks for any advice!


The goal is not really to be all giddy and doing cart-wheels all the time, but rather an equanimous state, well-balanced, the peaceful state between the extremes. For example:

Image

By practicing and cultivating equanimity, we can discard both 'masks.'
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Re: fear or "losing" personality

Postby muni » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:42 am

Nice illustration. :namaste:

Hello Enitzirk,

There is nothing to lose what is truly good. There is only that suffering of the imagined root which is like a boat on our dynamic stream of life, which can get be hit as a target and so we feel need to protect that thing and to please that thing which is only a concept! We don't need that at all.
We are not nothing. Like a river freely streaming, can our stream being in life be seen. Then we are at easy and lost nothing. :smile:
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Re: fear or "losing" personality

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:24 pm

enitzirk wrote:Hi, I was wondering whether anyone could help me with this problem i got the other day. while i was just sitting, i felt completely aware, and noticed myself kind of "clearing" up. i then suddenly understood how our essence is all the same (buddha nature?) and although i find this a good thing i got this sudden fear of losing my personality. i know my personality is a changing process, but i fear that if everyone cleared themselves of afflictive thoughts and emotions, would we all just be like happy "clones" ? i found this a bit scary.

Thanks for any advice!


Hi Enitzirk,

As we increase clarity, wisdom, and familiarity with our true nature, we don't have to lose parts of ourselves. If you ever have seen a lama or a Rinpoche laughing and talking, you see that they still have personality. But what's noteworthy is a certain clarity, or lightness and joy they seem to have.

Becoming more aware of our Buddha nature won't zombify us, in theory it should enhance our lives and give us greater insight into the way thing are. I hope this helps :)

Best,
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Re: fear or "losing" personality

Postby enitzirk » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:41 pm

thank you for the helpful replies! i was afraid we'd all end up being the same :)
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Re: fear or "losing" personality

Postby Luke » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:55 pm

enitzirk wrote:Hi, I was wondering whether anyone could help me with this problem i got the other day. while i was just sitting, i felt completely aware, and noticed myself kind of "clearing" up. i then suddenly understood how our essence is all the same (buddha nature?) and although i find this a good thing i got this sudden fear of losing my personality. i know my personality is a changing process, but i fear that if everyone cleared themselves of afflictive thoughts and emotions, would we all just be like happy "clones" ? i found this a bit scary.

Thanks for any advice!


Hi Enitzirk,

I had a very similar experience myself about two years ago, before I had a Buddhist teacher. I was doing shamatha very intensely for a long time and I suddenly had the horrifying feeling of myself being simply an empty illusion and I had a fear of losing my usual conception of myself.

I was so concerned at that time that I emailed a very kind Nyingma lama. Here is a quote from his reply to me:
"At first, the empty quality of experience can feel new and strange. Often fear may arise. However, this is generally just part of the process of getting used to how things are. There is no need to fear becoming stuck in emptiness for emptiness and form are inseparable. You are just tuning into a dimension of your being that you usually ignore. Again, it is important to find and work with a teacher over time to help guide you in practice, but what you describe is not unique or dangerous."

And like Ngawang Drolma said, great masters who experience this (and more!) all the time still have personalities and are able to enjoy themselves.

So, there's no need to worry. Although you could also try a different type of meditation if this feeling is becoming an obstacle for you. Of course, finding a good Buddhist teacher and asking him/her what to do is always the best option.

Take care,

Luke
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