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The Trap of Seeking the Self

The very act of searching is moving you away from that which you are searching for.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

1. Meet the Mystery That You Are

Adyashanti quote

"Nobody told us that what we are is a point of awareness or pure spirit. This isn't something we're taught.

Rather, what we were taught was to identify with our name. We were taught to identify with our birth date. We were taught to identify with the next thought that we have. We were taught to identify with all the memories our mind collects about the past. But all that was just teaching; all that was just more thinking.

When you stand in your own authority, based on your own direct experience, you meet that ultimate mystery that you are. Even though it may be at first unsettling to look into your own no-thingness, you do it anyway. Why?

Because you no longer want to suffer. Because you're willing to be disturbed. You're willing to be amazed. You're willing to be surprised. You're willing to realize that maybe everything you've ever thought about yourself really isn't true."

~ Adyashanti


The starting point always has to be an openness and a willingness to put aside everything you think you know. It's a big ask, but necessary if you want to move forward.

  1. This is the point where you get to choose between holding onto your beliefs and preferences or allowing space in your being for something new to come in: a new thought, a new perspective, a new truth.

  2. Even if you believe yourself to already be open, there is always room for more openness. The light of awareness shines ever deeper to show us what we are holding onto that is no longer serving us.

  3. Ask yourself, "Do I feel like I already know, or am I willing to open even more?"

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2. Discover the Freedom of Nothingness

Gangaji quote

“As you read this, simply relax. In that relaxation, see if tendencies arise to do something, to make something of this moment, to either try to keep this moment or try to push it away.

I suggest that all these tendencies are built around some kind of defense against the intimation and the deep self-knowing that you are really not an individual body, you are really not a personality, in fact, you are nothing at all.

When “nothing at all” is interpreted by the mind, it is a fearful thought: a thought of death, of worthlessness, of being dispensable. Because of your deep identification with the body and with thoughts, this fear can be very strong.

Mind patterns of defense against nothingness, against emptiness, can be found wrapped around this fear. These patterns are strategic responses to fear. The mind may quickly become very active: “Yes, but what does this mean? This can’t be so. How will I be able to do my job?”

Just for this moment, let all those thoughts fall aside. Allow your mind to rest in nothing - being nothing, doing nothing, having nothing, getting nothing, keeping nothing. In this moment, if you can actually, willingly, consciously, simply be nothing at all, in a flash you can discover the peace, the expansion, the freedom from boundaries inherent in nothingness.

The truth is, you really are nothing, but this nothing is full, whole, infinite, in everything, everywhere. This nothing is consciousness itself. It is already whole, complete, and fulfilled. This is the amazing irony. What you are running from and what you are searching for are the same!

I know you must experience at least a hint or an echo of the boundless peace that is present. This is an echo of your true identity; which is always present.

However many strategies of the mind arise - to do, to keep, to hide, to protect, or to defend - this boundless peace is always present, and it is your true refuge. This is, in fact, your true face.

You do not need years of spiritual practice to find your true face, because it is always present. Nor do you need to be a better person to find your true face.

Right now, exactly where you are, whoever you imagine yourself to be, your true face is shining. But it is actually no face at all, with no gender, no agenda. It is simply shining as it is, shining as shiningness.”

~Gangaji, The Diamond in Your Pocket


In this quote, Gangaji ushers us beautifully into the realization of our true nature.

  1. If you have ever come across non-duality teachings about being nothing, you may have, understandably, been perplexed. This is certainly not a concept that can be understood intellectually.

  2. Let Gangaji's words guide you into that peaceful place within your being, where you can at least glimpse what is available for you beyond this man-made identity and world of physical form.

  3. Consider the words, "What you are running from and what you are searching for are the same." What is it that you are afraid of discovering and what is it that you long to discover about yourself? You don't need to look for the answers. Wisdom will reveal them to you.

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3. Be Comfortable Not Knowing

Eckhart Tolle quote

"When you let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are, what happens to confusion? Suddenly it is gone.

When you fully accept that you don’t know, you actually enter a state of peace and clarity that is closer to who you truly are than thought could ever be.

Defining yourself through thought is limiting yourself.

If you can be absolutely comfortable with not knowing who you are, then what's left is who you are - the Being behind the human, a field of pure potentiality rather than something that is already defined."

-Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth


We spend our lives defining ourselves and others.

  1. First, we put all kinds of labels on ourselves, then we compare ourselves and try to improve ourselves. There's so much defining going on that we don't even notice it.

  2. Do you see yourself as someone who is lacking in any way? Do you need to be more at peace, happier, more successful? Someone who lives without pain? Are you someone who should be thinner, who needs a partner, or who desires a more fulfilling life? These desires of ours are so ingrained that we have become one with them. They direct our actions and our lives.

  3. What definition of yourself are you believing and holding onto? Today is an invitation to let go of that.

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4. Become Aware of the Seeking

Rupert Spira quote

"If the separate ‘I’ is trying to achieve something for itself, whether that something is worldly or spiritual, it will, by definition, strengthen itself. It is only a separate ‘I’ that would want to get rid of the separate ‘I’. The separate ‘I’ is itself the seeking that veils happiness.

Seeking is not what the ‘I’ does. It is what it is.

Sooner or later we come to question this seeking itself, the ‘trying to get rid of something’, rather than simply seeking finer and finer objects. Rather than trying to get rid of the seeking entity, we resolve to find it and have a good look at what it really is. And when we try to find it, we cannot.

How could one find, let alone get rid of, a non-existent entity?

In other words, seeking the end of suffering, trying to get rid of it, first presumes the real existence of the suffering entity. With that belief, the entity and its suffering are inevitably perpetuated. As long as the separate ‘I’ is considered to be real, it is inevitable that we will be trying to get rid of it. It is a vicious circle by which the entity and its search for the end of suffering keep themselves going ad infinitum.

At some stage, usually through investigation, that entity is found to be non-existent. At this stage its search and suffering may not end immediately, but they begin to wind down."

~Rupert Spira, from the article: Is it Possible to Investigate the Self Without an Agenda?


Rupert Spira's profound statements open a new perspective of what it means to seek.

  1. Rupert says that, when we are seeking our true self, we become the embodiment of the separate self. The activities of seeking and being separate are one.

  2. It is through seeking that we separate ourselves from the oneness of life. Consequently, our happiness is veiled by our seeking.

  3. Remember, don't try to understand these words of wisdom with your intellectual mind. If the time is right, they will touch something deep in you. If not, that's okay. Stay open and curious.

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5. Let Go of the Seeking

Leonard Jacobson quote

"That which you seek, you already are. Just wake up and be that. Then you will be in the truth of life. You will be enlightened. You will be in Oneness and timelessness and so there is no soul, no journey, no separation, no seeking and no finding. Everything dissolves into the moment of NOW. Everything is revealed in Oneness.

The dimension of you that has been seeking enlightenment is the ego and the ego will never arrive at that which it is seeking. There needs to be a relaxation, a letting go. The seeking and striving and trying keeps you goal oriented and away from the doorway of the truth, which is the present moment.

When you are fully awake, there is nothing left of you from the past and nothing of you projecting into the future. Your are utterly here now. This is the awakened state."

~Leonard Jacobson, from the article: You Are That!


The ego (the false sense of self who we are identified with) is like the hamster on the wheel - its very nature is to keep running after something, even though it's never actually getting anywhere.

  1. "The dimension of you that has been seeking enlightenment is the ego and the ego will never arrive at that which it is seeking."

  2. How do you respond to the thought of never arriving at that which you are seeking? Notice any feelings of hopelessness and deep disappointment. Breathe into those emotions and sit with them for a few moments.

  3. If you are willing to relax into the present moment and let go of all the incessant seeking, you will find that nothing you have desired is as beautiful, as fulfilling and as true as what is already available to you right now.

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6. Be Perfectly Effortless

Wisdom quotes

"If it requires no effort to breathe, it requires no effort to be the Self. Therefore, all efforts and practices are for the mind and not for the Self, which is perfectly effortless."


"Progress is for the mind and not for the self. The self is ever perfect."

~Ramana Maharshi

“Never begin with the fact that you are a human being having experiences, trying to become self-realized, but rather feel in your heart that you're already self-realized trying to awaken to that fact."

~Robert Adams


It's too simple, isn't it? Perhaps unbelievably simple.

The mind will argue and the ego will continue struggling and striving but, deep down, in your innermost being, there is a knowing that rests in a peace beyond understanding.

"We are on a journey of becoming that which we already are. This is the impossible paradox of our lives." ~Leonard Jacobson

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