There is an entity called Rohit (knowing subject) who has his own liking, disliking, habits etc. Or maybe these liking, disliking, habits etc make up the entity called Rohit. By constant awareness of self identification ( and eliminating things which I'm not) , I have started losing I-ness. It is difficult to explain in entirety but it is like death of the entity. Although this death of the entity giving a sense of peace and thoughtlessness, but it has started giving fears also. Fear of losing self - all liking, disliking etc along with social associations. It's kind of void & nihilism. It's like vanishing of selfhood & my own existence.

So, my question is what should I do in this situation? Why it is happening? Should I go ahead against fears & continue my endeavor of non identification or I should step back (stopping the meditation & start identification again)? Or If I continue in unbecoming, what are the suggestions would you give?

Note: I'm aware of paradoxes I used while posting details, ignore them as there is no any way to ask other than using 'I' wherever required.

5 Answers 5


My teacher made a few points in connection with this. Now that I got to this point in my own practice I'm beginning to understand what he meant.

When the illusion of self is lost... motivation that animates most people is no longer there. There's no impulsion to engage in projects or entertainment activities. Projects may seem meaningless and entertainment - empty. This makes it hard to relate with people. Buddha said, the mind of "one like this" is inclined towards seclusion. This does not happen overnight, but develops gradually. When this starts happening to you - do not freak out. This is normal. There's nothing wrong with you. On the flip side, you may find yourself enjoying nature a lot more than before. Enlightened mind goes well with nature, so don't hesitate to spend more time out in the wild.

Nevertheless, sometimes there may be sudden longing for "normal life". You can try it if you want, but be aware: at some point you won't be able to play samsaric games anymore, you just won't function the same way as before. There are anecdotes in Buddhist tradition about people going insane trying to fit back with the normal. Don't force it. It's okay to be different.

At some point you may start worrying that you don't know what to do with your time. My teacher said, it's best to follow your instincts, listen to your heart. Once you develop enough connection with Bodhicitta through meditation and no-self, your instincts purify, they no longer come from egoistic impulses, so you should trust them. If you feel like not doing anything, or even taking a nap - it's perfectly okay. Eventually you get sensitive to reality giving hints and inviting your participation. My teacher said, when enlightened activity is liberated from pressure of judgment, it becomes spontaneous and creative. There's no need to push that though, it comes from your suchness and inner peace.

You may find yourself having hard time sleeping same number of hours you're used to. The thing is, you don't have to sleep same hours anymore. As you integrate with your "other mind" your brain no longer requires as much sleep. Don't force yourself. When you do sleep, you may have strange dreams: walking through walls, staying lucid inside dreams, and other weird things. Don't worry about this. Some of it may be good signs of the changes going inside you, and some is just noise. Trust your instincts on what's what.

At some point you may stop recognizing yourself in a mirror. Don't worry about this, you're not going insane.

In general, a good rule of thumb is to "leave your mind as open as the sky, but keep your action as pure as the flour". Meaning, as long as you don't engage in immoral uncompassionate action (physical, verbal, or mental), you can relax and let your selflessness drive.

Finally, all my teachers said, at some point you are supposed to naturally and effortlessly get over this highly polarized selflessness/seclusion phase and reach the level when there's no difference between your meditation mind and the mind you have when walking in the busy marketplace. At that point you can integrate both worlds, your regular mind is meditation and your regular action is setting example of peace to everyone you encounter. As with all this stuff, pushing it is counterproductive, it has to grow by itself from the full maturity of the selflessness.

These are some of the main things that come to mind. Some of this I know from my own experience, and some only from words of my teachers, but I hope it's all accurate and is helpful to someone. Good luck to us all.

  • If I may ask, who is your teacher?
    – user13135
    May 27, 2018 at 0:46
  • I had a few. First was a Russian guy. Second was an American. And then there were two Korean guys. It doesn't matter who they are, for simplicity I usually just say "my teacher".
    – Andriy Volkov
    May 27, 2018 at 1:06
  1. Don't try to conceptualize what is happening. Simply stay aware and let-go.

  2. If you have reached to that point, have courage. Obviously you will be afraid, it is the death of ego, a conscious death.

  3. Some wisdom from the Buddha,

    There are only two mistakes a man can make on the path of Nibbana, one is never starting at all and second is not walking till the end.

  4. Again as the Buddha said,

    Charaiveti Charaiveti.

Edit: The third point is a fake buddha quote. My bad. The fourth one is apperently what the Buddha said at the end of every discourse. Meaning, ' go-on go-on'. This has been said by some, but there is not strong evidential cititation. But feels like right.

  • Can you source those quotes? I can't find (a source for) the first, and the second sounds like the Rig Veda.
    – ChrisW
    May 26, 2018 at 14:19
  • @ChrisW apperently it was a fake buddha quote. I didnt knew that until I just checked. And Charaivati Charaiveti means keep walking, keep walking, this is something the Buddha used to say after every discourse...this I have herd from several Indians...but I havent got any evedential citation for this. But it sounds right. As many said it I assumed it to be true.
    – user13135
    May 26, 2018 at 14:35

I guess there are two ways to see a duality.

One was is "All or nothing" ... and that's the message I'm hearing in your question: "All liking, disliking, habits, and social associations are ... they're old, and, they're selfish, and, associated with delusion ... and this 'all' should be (or will be, is being) replaced by 'nothing' -- i.e. to lose all liking, disliking etc., along with social associations, with a tendency toward a kind of void & nihilism."

A slightly different view, I think, is "unskillful versus skillful", or "delusion versus knowledge", etc. According to this doctrine you don't replace "all" with "nothing" -- instead you replace delusion with wisdom, and so on.

The question i.e. ...

Should I go ahead against fears & continue my endeavor of non identification or I should step back (stopping the meditation & start identification again)? Or If I continue in unbecoming, what are the suggestions would you give?

... sounds like a duality (continue towards nihilism, or go back towards identification), but there may be a third option (e.g. proceeding but towards right view, or something like that).

Note for example that:

  • The "three poisons" are said to have "Opposite wholesome qualities"
  • Losing (all) social associations doesn't sound quite right -- I know that the doctrine praises seclusion and renunciation, but also Association with the Wise (see also kalyāna-mitta)
  • There's doctrine about remaining engaged or active in society -- see e.g. the Brahmaviharas, and maybe something like this book -- or see vīrya for example: I assume that's "energy" not only for or during meditation but also other activities, and the other "perfections" too are not nihilist

One last bit of advice, I guess, is that one reason why there is no self is that existence (or the state of the "person") is conditioned by experience and environment -- there are things you'll know if you go to school, there are habits you'll form if you do this or that, or associate with various people. So consider what environment, what experiences, might be ... might be "virtuous", for want of a better word, or "skilful" ... or "praised by the wise", to quote from one of the suttas.


By constant awareness of self identification ( and eliminating things which I'm not) , I have started losing I-ness.

The above sounds like the practise of Hindu meditation (rather than Buddhist Anapanasati).

Losing "I-ness" but not completely is not difficult to explain. It is easy to explain. It is precisely the "death" ("marana") of "the entity" ("jati") the Buddha explained in Dependent Origination .

Although this "death" ("marana") of "the entity" ("satta-jati") is giving a initial sense of some peace and thoughtlessness, you ("the entity") is not committed to Nibbana and you ("the entity") is not ready to "cease" ("nirodha"). You ("the entity") is not practising to end suffering but sound like you are playing games with meditation.

What you should do in this situation is to stop fondling (playing) with meditation, be it Buddhist meditation or Hindu meditation, and return to ordinary worldly life. The Buddha did not teach anatta (not-self) meditation to worldlings.

The Buddha explained this situation in the following sutta:

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kosambī on the bank of the river Ganges. The Blessed One saw a great log being carried along by the current of the river Ganges and he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Do you see, bhikkhus, that great log being carried along by the current of the river Ganges?”

"If, bhikkhus, that log does not veer towards the near shore, does not veer towards the far shore, does not sink in mid-stream, does not get cast up on high ground, does not get caught by human beings, does not get caught by nonhuman beings, does not get caught in a whirlpool, and does not become inwardly rotten, it will slant, slope, and incline towards the ocean. For what reason? Because the current of the river Ganges slants, slopes, and inclines towards the ocean.

“So too, bhikkhus, if you do not veer towards the near shore, do not veer towards the far shore, do not sink in mid-stream, do not get cast up on high ground, do not get caught by human beings, do not get caught by nonhuman beings, do not get caught in a whirlpool, and do not become inwardly rotten, you will slant, slope, and incline towards Nibbāna. For what reason? Because right view slants, slopes, and inclines towards Nibbāna.”

‘Sinking in mid-stream’: this is a designation for delight and lust. ‘Getting cast up on high ground’: this is a designation for the conceit ‘I am.’

‘Getting caught in a whirlpool’: this, bhikkhu, is a designation for the five cords of sensual pleasure.

SN 35.241


The Noble Eightfold Path is balanced in the development of virtue (sila), concentration (samadhi) and panna (wisdom).

Sila is composed of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.
Samadhi is composed of Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
Panna is composed of Right View and Right Resolve / Intention.

The forerunner of the path is Right View.

The path includes the cultivation of wisdom and insight, in order to uproot the ten fetters.

In order to pursue both insight and concentration, first virtues (sila) must be well-established according to the Kimattha Sutta. Lay people are not discouraged from meditation - please see this answer.

There are also more tips regarding meditation involving the use of the middle way, including getting moderate sleep, food and sensual experiences, according to the tips by Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu in Chapter Six of his book "How to Meditate", which is entitled "Daily Life".

Perhaps, you want to review your progress so far, and ask yourself if you are truly progressing in a balanced way, taking into account all eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. The path to the end of suffering should not be reduced to meditation only.

Experiencing fear of losing your self, is a sign that you may not be ready yet to go deeper, or your path is not balanced. I can't tell you what is not right - you may need to find a proper teacher to instruct you further. A proper teacher should ensure that you continue on the Middle Way with the Right View, rather than falling into either extremes of practice (over-asceticism) or extremes of view (eternalism or annihilationhism).

It is also possible that when you are ready to go deeper, it makes more sense to leave the lay life (which is incompatible with losing interest in material concerns) and move to becoming a anagarika or novice monk, adhering to the Eight Precepts or Ten Precepts.

  • The answer here is not relevant to the question. I marked it down. No amount of sil (morality) can stop the terror when the self construct collapses and dies. The death of the "self" is "marana". "Marana" is not physical death but what the questioner is explaining. Those that cling to false dhamma of rebirth can never understand this. May 26, 2018 at 20:56
  • @Dhammadhatu 'cling to FALSE dhamma of rebirth' can you please explain this part.
    – user13135
    May 27, 2018 at 0:55
  • Updated answer to be more relevant to the question.
    – ruben2020
    May 27, 2018 at 4:10
  • Each time the mind believes in reincarnation; this is a becoming; this is egoism. As for the true dhamma of rebirth; it is each time self-view is reborn in the mind. May 27, 2018 at 9:13

You must log in to answer this question.