Question: What did you think of the video?
Michael Richardson-Borne: If you replace the concept of Bambi with the concept of the separate self, the video becomes a great metaphor for the normal state of affairs people are living today. Almost every person on the planet is afraid they will lose the love of their life, which isn’t a person outside of themselves as they imagine it, but, rather, the story of a separate self to which they are attached. The separate self is the true love of your life, and every day you prove this by ignoring your real being.
It was love at first sight. Or should we say obsession at first sight? The second the “I am” arose in your awareness, you were mesmerized by its significance. Seduced by its presence. Here was a story that could hold your attention and attraction for a lifetime. A story that was a scaffolding to which an endless array of stories could attach and forge an ever-evolving autonomous identity that removed you further and further from truth. With this separation assuming identity, every moment became an emotion-filled cliff hanger that revealed what was happening to the world’s most important character. All the successes and failures, loves and losses, triumphs, moments of boredom, and defeats were all part of an emerging story that was deeply personal and revealed “the facts of life” to a figure you thought was separately born to experience an individual existence.
Not once have you stopped to question your assumption of a separate self. If you would, you’d quickly see that there is only one fact of life, and you are it. The fact of life is non-separation.
When we think about losing the love of our life, we are convinced that it is a very personal experience. But dropping the separate self cannot happen in the personal, it can only happen when the impersonal is seen to engulf what is thought of as personal. It is only in the impersonal where a love that cannot lose an other is available. In the impersonal, choosing between this scenario of romance and that scenario of romance is seen through. There is nobody there to take the decision hostage from its natural process and all romantic interests are viewed in focus– as phantoms of your real being, completely real, but with no independent existence of their own.
Q: I feel like the rest of the world. I’m afraid of losing my self and fear if I do, I may never get it back.
MR-B: Well, you’re in the wrong place if you’re here to cling to separation. To strengthen the separate self, go outside of this room – there’s a theme park, military-grade training ground, Ph.D. course, and self-help seminar waiting for you on every corner that will reinforce your assumptions. The world you live in is a perfectly designed experiential classroom for separative skills training before the real work begins.
On your way out, ask yourself these questions:
How can you lose something that was never in your possession?
How can you get something back that’s never been separate from you? How can you get something back that you never lost in the first place?
Q: With all due respect, I’m here because I have questions about non-separation, so I’d like to stay. I’m curious about what it feels like to lose the self.
MR-B: Let me first point out that nothing is lost. If the self you are describing is lost, that would be a breakdown, not a breakthrough. That would lead to psychosis, not the realization of non-separation. So what you’re seeking right now isn’t the erasure of the separate self, it’s the breaking of the habit of sole identification with this shriveled identity. It’s a learning of how to leave the self, and all other phenomena, to their own devices while who you are does the living.
The self you think you are is an infinitesimally small part of what you are aware of. Your assumption of a separate self leads you to believe that you are this infinitesimally small independent entity living inside a world while being divided from trillions of objects around you. What you call “losing the self” triggers the small, extracted, identity piece to seamlessly re-assume its natural position within the puzzle of non-separation. What was formerly the self can still be observed, but only as a reflection of total being.
Let’s return to the video for a moment and, once again, think of Bambi as a metaphor for the separate self. Rather than sitting on the park bench and letting the separate self ride off into the sunset of the unreal– Jidenna sprints to the church, desperate to reunite with separation. One minute he favors his past over his projected future, the next minute he favors his projected future over his past. He is caught up in the chatter of the mind, in separation, and his attention just can’t leave it alone. This is what separation feels like.
What Jidenna fails to ask on the park bench is, “Who is Bambi being taken from?” On the flip side of this, he fails to see that there isn’t an other to take Bambi from him or an object called Bambi that could even be taken. How would the video change if he realized he was actually running to the self as a reflection of the self? That he was a shadow afraid to be left behind by the substance that casts the shadow? This is what non-separation would feel like.
Q: If my self takes its natural place in the puzzle and is no longer separate, will people be able to communicate with me as they once did?
MR-B: Who are these people communicating with right now? Do you know? Who are these entities in whose consciousness you appear? These are the questions to investigate rather than worrying about if you’ll get to continue to discuss the weather.
Q: Earlier, you said something to the tune of “losing the love of your life isn’t personal.” What do you mean by this?
MR-B: Seeing through the separate self cannot be a personal experience because if it’s personal, separation is still present. The veil of the separate self is seen through when the impersonal opens as a background and also penetrates the personal. When this happens, the separate self becomes an aspect of the impersonal and loses the rigid individuality it once was imagined to possess.