Exploring the Separate Self with Schoolboy Q

Question: Me no conversate with the fake…that part!

Michael Richardson-Borne: If this was truly the case, Schoolboy Q wouldn’t converse with himself or much of anyone else on the planet– because we’re all fake.

Most people think they are the story they have created in their minds– race, gender, relationships, socio-economic status included. None of this is real. What people don’t understand is that these stories are built on top of an undifferentiated consciousness. This consciousness, what you truly are, is story free. So, if you believe you are the limited stories of the separate self, then you are fake. And, apparently, Schoolboy Q will not talk to you.

In our current world, if you are fully in life as your ego’s story, then you are considered to be authentic. To be authentic is a goal of the separate self. But there is a deeper understanding of authenticity that can arise when one begins the path of self-inquiry– the authenticity of non-separation.

With non-separation, the separate self is still present but one’s identity isn’t firmly embedded in it. The separate self is just another object in awareness; something being lived by the movement of the whole. After all, there is only one self– and this includes all of the objects you currently recognize as human beings.

Q: Wouldn’t one be all alone? Isn’t this an extremely lonely place?

MR-B: Only the separate self can be lonely. When there is self and other, you put the conditions in place for loneliness to occur. But these conditions are your own doing. They are not real. When there is no self and no other, loneliness becomes an impossibility. This is non-separation, the realization that there is no other, that there is no second that could ever be lonely.

To use Schoolboy Q’s terms to describe non-separation– there’s not even anyone else to “conversate” with. All conversations are part of a single consciousness.

Q: That pretty much handles the first half of the song’s opening sentence. Do you have anything to say about the second portion of the sentence when Schoolboy Q says, “that part!”?

MR-B: The parts that we see aren’t real, they are divisions imposed by the mind.

But humans are addicted to our apartness. It’s a collective illness of humanity, the assumption of separation. We could just as easily assume non-separation, and make this concept the foundation of all that humans create; everything from religions to philosophies, to political systems and other social organizations. But we are so accustomed to our separate selves that it doesn’t even show up for us– it’s an invisible cloak on consciousness that we all blindly wear entire lifetimes.

To borrow an old Buddhist pointer to non-separation: Who were you before your parents were born? Who were you before “the fake” entered your awareness?

Q: What do I do to become not separate?

MR-B: That is the catch– you can’t do anything. Nothing you will do will ever make you less separate than you are in this very moment. Non-separation is always already the case. You can realize it. But you can’t create it.

America is a culture of doers. So we think we have to do something in order to rest in truth. This is why many spiritual teachers are so avid about meditation or other spiritual practices. It’s not that the practices will ever get you anything or anywhere. But they will keep your mind occupied thinking it’s doing something or going somewhere while maybe just maybe if you are sitting with a true master, you will see what she or he is pointing to.

When you hear things like “the meditation is the enlightenment,” what this means is that meditation cannot bring you something that you already are. The meditation is just as much of a pointer to non-separation as chewing bubble gum. The answer to all of your questions is already right in front of your face.

Q: I won’t use the exact language, but in the song, Schoolboy Q talks about “all of his women” being “independent women.” What is independence?

MR-B: Most, if not all, definitions in the English dictionary were created from a place of separation. So the common definition of independence has to do with the ego and its supposed freedom and empowerment. This kind of independence doesn’t exist in non-separation as there has to be something there to accept the label of independent or dependent. When there is nothing there to accept a label, what happens?

Again, independence is already the case. You are already free. Your natural condition is one of non-separation. You just have to remember this.

Q: Do you think this video is objectifying women?

MR-B: I think you (and this video) are objectifying everything you consider outside of your self. But all of these objects are stories of your own creation.

What you think is outside of you (cars, necklaces, people) is actually inside. And what you think is inside of you (thoughts, feelings, emotions) is actually outside of you. Take a look at this right now. Most people believe it’s exactly the opposite.

Focus on knowing the self, then let the answers about objectification naturally happen.