Excerpt About Memory

Our Usual Sense of Self is an Ephemeral Memory

We begin to see that what we take ourselves to be is composed of constructed images and concepts that are remembered and organized. Over time, these accumulated constructs become lenses through which we view ourselves and reality. When we see through and understand these constructs, we recognize that they are not true and not real. We become empty of them and also can recognize their inherent emptiness. In other words, as we become free from the accumulated constructs, they reveal their emptiness; they reveal that they are empty of reality. Taken far enough, the emptiness of other begins to reveal the emptiness of self—that we are empty not only of the contents of self but also of what we have taken to be the very nature of self. As we recognize that our usual sense of self is an image that we are holding on to, we see that it doesn’t exist in a real way. Our usual sense of self is an ephemeral memory, an illusory concept of self. Seeing through our various images of self often reveals the spaciousness and emptiness of true nature. The spaciousness that arises as we investigate the self has many degrees and many kinds, including ones that are clear and light and others that are deep and black. And as we explore the self more thoroughly, our investigation reveals that our self-images and beliefs are based on reifications and conceptualizations that are more subtle than mere memories and impressions from the past. We discover that the basic way in which our mind works and our knowing happens tends to create constructs. Recognizing this subtle level of conceptualization reveals both deeper structures of the self and deeper understandings of emptiness. Working at this level of subtlety discloses the boundless dimensions of emptiness, where the spaciousness and the presence are inseparable.

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