Self Is a Parasite

© Paul Hedderman

Hotel lobby, the night before. The fire cracks and pops. Paul sips his tea. Thought-trains move through the station of his mind, offering trips to What’s-Not-Happening, off into past or future time. He simply watches them as they go through. A man enters the room. “Is this seat available?”

“Sure,” says Paul.

“My name is Hans. I’m here for a seminar. Self-improvement sort of thing.”

“But why do that? Ha, ha, ha!”

“What do you mean?”

“Self is the problem. Better just to let it go.”


“You go to seminars to become an improved self. But why do that? The idea of being a self is what the problem is.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Self is a parasite.”

“It is?”

“Sure. It’s taken over. You’re seeing FROM it all day long.”

“I am?”

“We never entertain the idea of being outside the realm of self-centeredness, because it’s taken root in us and we are identified with it. So all we can do is therapize and socialize it, so it doesn’t flip out at the next picnic. We just hunker down in the chronic effects of self-centeredness. Failing to see the self as the parasite it is.”

Hans stares at him.

“I heard a lot of concepts in earlier days about how to make things wonderful. But I heard them as a ‘me.’ Which neutered everything and turned it into more selfing. The mind is obsessed with the idea of being a self. And it doesn’t recognize: That’s the dilemma. Your attention orbits around the planet Self all day, because the self provides the gravitational pull to all the thoughts, making them about YOU.

“If you realized they weren’t about the real you, they could simply come and go. Your attention would be freed up from the slavery of selfing and would attend to the conscious contact; there would be a recognition in and of itself. Traveling lighter — not by any procedures or practice, but by recognition of what’s so.

“A thought is just a thought; but it changes dramatically when it becomes MY thought. The interpretation of the thought as being MINE is slapped on it. That’s what the self does.

“The reason I’m hooked on the narrative in my head is because I think it’s about me. By freeing up some of the attention from the selfing we become aware of the conscious contact itself. The enslavement can be over by simply entertaining you’re not the selfing. If you recognize you’re not the self, you will lose interest in all its activities.

“You say you want to be ‘awake.’ But while you are adsorbed in the story of self you will be unconscious to the fact that you are ALREADY AWAKE. Then you may have the curse of thinking you want to BECOME awake. Reinforcing the idea that you are not awake.

“The head is playing God. And it’s already beat you, since now it’s got you thinking you’re not awake. It’s going to play with that for years. There’s no escaping WHAT’S SO. You can SENSE living or else you can THINK about it. That’s the choice.

“This is not about acquiring knowledge. It’s about waking up to the essence of what we call living. If you identify as SELF, you’re going to inhabit the realm of WHAT’S NOT HAPPENING. The future and the past. You have tons of old ideas about you. Unless you let go of these you are traveling very heavy.

“You’re meant to be fluid. A very light boat that can navigate and handle different kinds of weather. You’re just an old tanker now. Each moment big waves coming in. You need relief. But where do you go for that release? To your head! Which is the problem. The relief it offers is part of the bondage to self. We go to the problem asking for advice!

“Realize you’re not in the problem. Never have been. That’s the solution. The lie is that you were ‘in self.’ But you never were. Your attention was hijacked, that’s all.”

“Selfing?” says Hans, “Exactly what is that?”

“Obsessing with thoughts about yourself; making up stories about the feelings you’re having or not having. Attention glued to the screen of self. It can be released, for attention to return to the conscious contact, each moment’s raw pure experience.

“Most of our time is spent emphasizing what’s-not-happening over what-is-happening. We’re using what IS happening to think about what’s NOT happening and to expectantly feel about what MAY happen. All the while there is What-Is-Happening. Why not stay there? No longer as the wave but as the whole ocean that you truly ARE.”

Hans looks away into the fire. “Nothing to strive for or attain? Perhaps if I map it out . . .”

“You don’t need a map to go to the truth. You are the truth! Consciousness is inherently available to us. That’s it. That’s the entrance way. But there’s no YOU that’s going through the door, because there is no you. The idea of being a you creates the idea of a door to the truth; that it’s always outside of your contact. The idea that you might suddenly meet up with the truth. No! You are that truth. You are consciousness, right now.

“Truth is available at all times, but it’s not available to what you’re not. What you’re not will never access it, it’s impossible. Your head believes you’re what you’re not, and causes you to be unconscious of the consciousness. Then the curse of ‘spiritual seeking’ takes you on a journey to become conscious of consciousness. How’s that going to work?

“The true happening is awareness; and that’s always happening. The relief you are seeking is always available. You don’t have to go into therapy, work on your fears and phobias, no. When you wake from the dream there’s an instant recognition: It’s a dream-tiger. The dream is what’s not happening.

“There is no reason for a YOU to appear now. It only has to do with what’s not happening. All your anxieties are a product of what’s not happening. The you that is not. You don’t get rid of the self. Because it was never there. You sense the appearance of a mental construct called selfing, but it was never there. There is no self. No reason to get rid of it. That’s the solution.

“Whatever the mind presents, just rest in that. Don’t react. Then you’ll have immunity to what the mind presents. Your reactions will change and life will be totally different. Because it’s your reaction that gives self its meaning. Life is ‘what’s happening.’ But when it’s a reaction, it’s ‘what’s happening to me.'”

“It’s all a bit new to me, you know,” Hans gets up to go. “If you’ll excuse me, I must be up early for my seminar. ‘An Invitation to What Is SO,’ by a chap named Hedderman.”

“Ha, ha, ha. Just remember, you don’t improve the self. You simply let it go. Just entertain the idea you’re not the self you think you are.”