A Wholeness-Based Self

Posted on by Sen.

A lot of spiritual teachers talk about reaching a place of “no self” or the “egoless state”, and the way I see it, it’s one of the most ambiguous and highly inaccurate pointer about the state of wholeness. It also creates a lot of false imagination, and unnecessary anxiety in the student/seeker – after all it’s naturally scary to imagine that you will just “disappear” into nothing. In truth, you will always have a sense of self, during this physical life and after this physical life, you can’t just disappear into “nothingness” – once you are born as a stream of consciousness, you retain a sense of self forever, eternally. The state of wholeness does not bring you to a place of “no self”, rather it creates a wholeness-based sense of self in you.

I don’t really see any usefulness in using an inaccurate pointer like “reaching a place of no-self”, except may be to test a student’s commitment to the process of awakening – however, it would have to be a highly desperate (or unreasonably committed) person who wants awakening even at the cost of losing the sense of self (some do get to such a point, I guess I did, but it’s a very unpleasant place to be), any reasonable person can’t be blamed for bailing out. Hence this pointer can actually be a “turn off” to many, and could well be the reason why so few people get interested in the deal of awakening. Inaccurate pointers are best avoided, and I think it’s the responsibility of any teacher to ensure that their pointers are as reality-based, and accurate, as possible. It’s just that a lot of teachers are mostly regurgitating old teachings (possibly from the tradition they belong, like Zen Buddhism etc), possibly to not come across a rebel to that tradition, instead of using more evolved, reality-based, and understandable, pointers; some, I am sure, even get their kicks from the confusion of the students (a lot of zen masters are notorious for intentionally confusing the student to get them to go beyond the need for clarity). The way I see it, it saves a lot of time for a student if he/she does not have to figure out an understanding, and is simply “given” the understanding in an accurate manner – in the end it’s the same thing, why ask a student to spend time re-inventing the wheel; there seems to be no real advantage to it.

The more accurate truth on how your sense of self/ego is affected by the process of awakening/aligning/balancing is that it becomes “whole” rather than being deluded or imbalanced. The implications of the sense of self becoming “whole” are as below

– Your sense of self stops being injured/hurt, hence you stop being defensive, or offensive, in your approach – rather you simply “respond” from a place of wisdom

– You don’t have a sense of inferiority or superiority about your “self”

– Your sense of self becomes driven by wholeness (or a sense of love that’s free of a clinging attachment) rather than being driven by fear, hatred, forced-detachment or joy

– Your sense of self becomes “stateless”, since you are no longer subject to the wavering states of your mind, so you don’t keep swinging between mind states like joy, sadness, exhilaration, depression, love, hatred, passion, boredom. Your sense of self is very stable. You don’t become insensitive, you just stop being unstable in your being (no constant swings of high and low).

– You are not overly attached to any sense of “mine” – like my country, my race, my culture, my sports-team, my family, my achievement etc. However, you are not trying to detach either, and don’t end up becoming irresponsible towards your dependents. It’s just that you no longer create a narrow sense of “mine”.

– Your desires (for experience/expression) come from this place of wholeness, but it’s very personal to your journey – there is no standard for what wholeness-based desires look like, they would look like any desire, it’s just that, for you, it comes from a place of knowing your abundance/freedom/wholeness/creator-potential. For example, you can still desire Armani shirts, even in a place of inner wholeness, just that it’s no longer a big deal to you whether you have it or not – which essentially means that you are resistance-free to its manifestation.

– Your sense of self does not require an external attention/approval/love for you to feel whole. You are fine being alone, or with a companion; you are fine in isolation or in a group. You are no longer seeking external validation for feeling complete in your self.

– Your sense of self/ego loses all its prejudices/bias/beliefs. You can still function in a particular belief system, but you are no longer biased towards it. For example, you can still function in your religion but you are also internally free of its requirement in your life. You don’t hold on to any “beliefs” for your sense of security– for example, you don’t feel the need to ascertain anything, you are okay with anything being true. You have your “knowing”, but you are not trying to cling to it from a sense of needing assurance/security in it.

– You stop moving from a place of surface-level judgment, rather you move from a place of wisdom which comes from your inner space (and thus from wholeness/totality). So, you don’t have any black & white ways of thinking, rather you are free to allow the wisdom of the moment to make the decisions. People don’t feel judged in your presence.

– Your “me” thought is no longer a pulling force, it has no momentum in you. Hence, you don’t feel the need to keep protecting your sense of “me”, neither are you a prisoner to your sense of “me”. Basically, your sense of self is no longer rigid/solid, it’s very malleable, very transparent – like the difference between a chunk of ice and water. This is mostly what is being referred to as “no self”, in that there is no solidity in your sense of “me”, rather it’s very fluid – but the sense of self is not lost, it’s always there, it’s eternal.

Dissolution of the imbalanced sense of self

In order for a wholeness-based self to come into place the imbalance/delusion based self needs to dissolve. In a lot of spiritual teachings this “imbalance-based” sense of self is what is referred to as “ego” – but such a reference is what creates unnecessary confusion. The way I define it, the sense of “I” (or sense of self) is the ego, and this sense of “I” will not ever disappear, and hence your ego will not disappear. The ego will always be there, in physical and in non-physical – it’s just about coming to a wholeness-based I/self/ego. While you are in the process of coming to this wholeness you will see a lot of destruction in the structure of your ego (or sense of I), also called “fierce grace”, until all the deluded/imbalanced components are shaved off – this process of deconstruction is usually not very pretty internally, and it can create a sense of a war going on within. Plus, certain events take place in your life purely with the intention of breaking down some deluded elements in your ego – it’s part of the process (it’s also a grace, just that it seems to have taken a warrior avatar). However, all through this process, your well-being is never compromised in reality (but your mind can interpret some events as being negative, when in truth they are just part of the process of breaking down the imbalanced elements of your ego), that’s why it’s called “grace”, because you always are in the care of the intelligence of your life-stream.

If you sense “chaos” in your life presently, you can rest assured that it’s just an orchestration needed to sieve out some rigid/imbalanced elements in your ego. Fear is a very useful fire to burn down rigidness in the ego, and hence you may feel a lot of fear happening in you for a while, during this process (some external events can also happen that can instigate stark fear in you, but it’s all part of the grace of this process). That’s why I give the pointer of totally allowing the fear, as it arises, instead of trying to sort it out or figure it out. The energy of fear is just like a transformational fire which will burn through all the imbalances in your sense of self, bringing you to a state of wholeness. Fear is not your enemy, it’s your ally in this process of coming to a place of wholeness – stop trying to escape fear, rather allow it fully so that it can torch through rigid structures in your ego. There really is nothing else you need to do but stay fully allowing of fears as they arise. Fear is just “love” wearing a mask, and when fear has done it job of breaking through the delusions/imbalances of your ego, it will reveal its true face, and you will see that it was always love – you can’t help but feel grateful for it.

Related Articles



  1. Willy

    Sen this your article came at the right time. I planned to ask you some questions about the ‘EGO or THE SENSE OF ‘SELF’… Thanks for the clearance.. It just answered all my questions…. Thanks again.

  2. abet

    Sen another amazing article

    There is one thing that makes me wonder though, when you say that we retain our sense of self eternally it almost seems like something frightening. So we just continue to reincarnate over and over? It almost makes me feel like if I am trapped

    1. Sen Post author

      Abet, it’s only scary when you imagine it through a fear-based perspective, or else it’s just ordinary to have an eternal movement as a stream of consciousness, also it’s not necessary to keep using a physical vehicle like a “body” when that’s not what feels like the growth path for you, you can simply stay in a non-physical state and have your experience/expression.

  3. Janice

    Sen thank you for all of your incredibly clear-minded and profound articles which I am always impressed with because you are able to explain your words in an understandable way which is always spot on and I learn and enjoy them a lot. I have only started reading your newsletters for a weeks now, but feel that you have made my life so much richer because of your wisdom that you graciously share with the rest of us.

    1. Sen Post author

      I am glad you find resonance in these writings

  4. Stormy

    Hi sen, this site has been amazing for me. When I was about 5years old I remember looking
    in a mirror one day and feeling like I split in two. From then on my life has felt like I was living through other peoples eyes and couldn’t feel any feelings of my own. I’m pretty sure this is what led me to have an eating disorder 12 years ago. Only about 4 months ago after a chain of events that happened I realized I need to change. With this site and books and meditation I really believe I’ve awoken and started to go through the phases of awakening. It was hard to deal with all the feelings that have been coming up strongly but the last week I started I feel light and I am getting dreams that are really messages from god so I think I’m doing something right. Sometimes I feel like this is too good to be true and I’ll go back into being closed off which I don’t want to happen. I feel like im not as judgmental and defensive as i was up until just 4 months ago. The only thing im having trouble with is imagining what I want in life. Most things haven’t turned out well in my past like relationships, for obvious reasons that I understand it wasn’t the real me, but I’m having trouble even allowing myself to picture what I want in a relationship because I my experience they’ve all ended badly. Even in my imagination my relationship can’t work because the guy finds a better girl who has been “awake” her whole life and has more life experience than me. This is the only thing that I think I’m having real trouble with. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve read the articles On manifesting desires but when I try this there is a huge block that comes up. Thanks.

    1. Sen Post author

      Stormy, I would suggest that for now you just stay with the journey of reducing the mind momentum, and coming to a place of inner wholeness. From this place you will automatically have the balance to know the desires that are truly aligned with you, and basically would feel drawn to your natural expression.

  5. Casey

    “That’s why I give the pointer of totally allowing the fear, as it arises, instead of trying to sort it out or figure it out. The energy of fear is just like a transformational fire which will burn through all the imbalances in your sense of self, bringing you to a state of wholeness. Fear is not your enemy, it’s your ally in this process of coming to a place of wholeness – stop trying to escape fear, rather allow it fully so that it can torch through rigid structures in your ego.” Beautiful…and true. I’m living it all this summer.

    Thanks again, Sen. Your last paragraph is really inspiring. I had a friend who for years suffered much pain because of a throat cancer. Having recovered, he know talks about how “pain” was his “teacher”, ultimately helping him find greater peace and understanding. I love this idea. We must taste the bitter to prize the good. I’d love to attend a retreat sometime with you. All the best to you and your readers.

  6. bakke

    Thanks for the clarification, that ‘no self’ thing indeed confused me often. I feel as if through allowing things are just being rearranged inside while incongruent things were disappearing…sometimes I don’t even notice which ones..
    Sometimes, though, I feel such a confusion that I find it difficult to interact with outer world, I don’t know how to act, because I just don’t know what I want to express, I just don’t know. Do you think that is just normal occurrence during the detox phase?
    And sometimes, while being with others, especially if they are very negative, I somehow let myself get into the atmosphere of their being and that shakes me somehow, I guess I am not stable enough in my being. As if everyhting worked ok when I’m alone, but when I get with people, it’s somehow another category. I don’t know if you have something to tell about this?

    1. Sen Post author

      bakke, as you’ve figured it out accurately that this “social anxiety” (or fear of people and their reactions) stems from the momentum of fear within you (created by the mind momentum). For now, just use these situations to get an idea of how much mind momentum you have going, just observe and be aware of your inner space during these interactions (you don’t have to do it as a strict practice, just get a sense of your inner space now and then). As you practice the state of allowing (you can start with 20-30 minutes of just sitting and allowing per day), and let the release happen, the momentum will keep reducing till you no longer feel this grip of anxiety/fear during social interactions.

  7. Vikram

    Hi Sen,

    Another great article. I have personally seen some part of this journey and agree with it. However I am still lost on how to fully express the fear.. Any insight will be helpful.

  8. manola

    Fear is just “love” wearing a mask, and when fear has done it job of breaking through the delusions/imbalances of your ego, it will reveal its true face, and you will see that it was always love

    That is quite beautiful, I don`t have any idea why I find it so profound- none at all- but oh my it touched me.


  9. bill krien

    Sen your own feelings and articles are so truthful and helpful to human lives ,i wonder if they will ever be put on cd’s for people to purchase and listen to for peace and comfort for the rest of our lives.

  10. Amit

    Amazing article Sen .

  11. Chow


    this has been a hell of a week for me. At one moment, I felt like becoming fully unconcious again! I was scared shitless. It all came back, with full intensity, or I don’t know what happened. I forgot about all practices and stuff, but I felt disconeccted, and more and more dull with time. Physical exaustion is allways good excuse for defending negativity. It pulls me down and down. But, maybe, I thought, it is a naturall call for deepest relaxation which I never allow to the body with my restlessness?
    I just couldn’t get out! there was a seed of conciousness in all that, but I was powerless. I felt like on fire. And socially completely disfunctional…

    My question is… in all this, I clearly saw, felt, this reaccuring fear of life… fear of going ouf and live my life, of standing in my shoes, in being myself…all that which is the goal, I think, I actually fear that! and fear of life, it’s like wish to die! is this desire to die, a desire to dissolve negativity? to die to old self? or is it negativity in full force?

    Also, at one point I had sort of realization that….total allowing IS dying, is it not? it’s death! when I allow, everything dissolves, nothing remains static…it’s scary after some time…am I right?

    1. Chow

      At one point, it all becomes too hot. Like I am wearing huge metal hot ball inside me. And it is unbearable. And in a form of catharsis, inner scream of “I really can’t take it any more” i drop it, and realize… It is “I”… the “me”… “mine”… self-centered activity, that makes me suffer really hard. I see then, how I am living without love – somewhat meaningless. All puzzle parts come together. It’s some greedy energy that always wants more, and more, to add to the “me”, never satisfied, never relaxed. To be honest, I think my major deep down desires are to be “god”! To be omnipresent, to be all-powerful, to know everything, to be perfect. Is this desire common, is it in all of us, or is it that extreme only in some “narcisstic cases”? I had this realizations-catharsis already, several times, in past 6 months. But, somehow, I forgot it, I get involved in mind stuff, and I accidentaly jump back into the cycle, and can’t go back, I can’t even remember the taste of it, I just know, I’m aware that I am “lost”, and as more I am trying to “go back”, the more I am lost in mind stuff, the more I feel disconnected. Why this cycle? Maybe it’s fear that make me jump again into it…

    2. Sen Post author

      Chow, imagining some extraordinary state of being just adds to the resistance and causes you to add to the drama in the mind. For now, what’s happening is an release of emotional energy and mental momentum, which includes the deconstruction of the ego force in the mind, and it happens in layers (which can feel like cycles). Don’t try to get back, or chase, the taste of wholeness which you glimpse now and then, rather just know that you will end up eventually in your natural state of being (which is wholeness) as release of the past accumulated momentum comes to an end.

    3. Sen Post author

      Chow, of course it’s a dissolution of “resistance”, but that’s it, it’s not dramatic in any sense. The mind has this tendency to dramatize everything and then get scared of the “dramatic image” it creates. When you say “I actually fear being free”, it’s just another fear pattern in the mind created through some imagination, if you hold on to this fear you will just buy into this pattern in the mind. Just allow this fear in the mind without clinging to it, and it will lose its grip on you. All that’s happening is that you are coming back to your natural state of being, which is rooted in a space of unwavering peace and is resistance-free to allow a life lived aligned with your natural expression.

    4. Jenny

      Hi Chow! I just wanted to let you know that I am going through the same exact thing! No advice but just wanted to let you know you’re not alone!! I think it’s normal!! <3

    5. Chow

      Thank you, Sen.
      I read your post “dissolving the negative ego” again, it made sense with new depth.

    6. Viraj

      Hi Chow,

      I wanted you to know that I am going through the same thing.”I cant really take it anymore” its happening with me too.Yes,its unbearable and I also fear that I may be getting unconscious again. I dont know what attitude should I hold on to bcoz its unbearable no matter wat your attitude is..

  12. rafael

    I wish I could know where the rest of the readers of this blog are located. I think it will be extremely helpful to meet up with and be able to chat with other people who are going through this process of release as well. It can be very interesting.

    Anyone else in Miami, Florida? Or maybe somewhere close?

    1. Leela

      Here in Tennessee. Moving to Gainesville FL by years end. Just found Sen’s work. Awesome.

  13. Elmir

    hello sen, Why is it in my state of allowing I feel negativity so strong my heart starts beating real fast like a scared feeling. I let my mind feel fearful, but after I open my eyes I feel very numb and confused like with no fear its kinda strange. I usually do 10 mins three times a day in a state of allowing. Whats kind of strange to me is that even though I feel these intense negative feelings I want to go even deeper. Anyways thanks for the articles.

    1. Sen Post author

      Elmir, it’s very normal to feel an inner turmoil, including an adrenaline rush causing a hike in heart beat, when you let go of trying to control the mind – this feeling of letting go of control is scary to the mind, and thus it creates a fear-based response – be it anxiety or confusion. Basically, you don’t need to be concerned about these feelings, and just be allowing of these reactions also. Soon you will get acquainted with the state of just letting be and these fear-based reactions will no longer have any intensity.

  14. Dancer

    Dear Sen,
    the last phrase of this article deeply resonates with me, yet I am unsure I have the right understanding of what you are saying. When you say “fear is love wearing a mask” do you mean that a strong fear is always the opposite of a strong desire? For instance, if I have a strong fear of my career not working out as I desire, what is behind this fear is my love for my art, my passion for what I do and the wish to express it? Or do you mean that fear is love because it helps you break free from the unbalances of the ego and therefor is a loving force?

    1. Sen Post author

      Dancer, your second interpretation is more accurate where you said “fear is love because it helps you break free from the unbalances of the ego and therefor is a loving force”. Fear becomes a wake-up call to regaining consciousness of your true sense of self.

  15. Manisha

    Sen, i was looking up things to do with 108 as i have been seeing this a lot lately.For me it feels like an expression of “wholeness”, so i googled 108 and wholeness and found your article. The synchronicity doesn’t stop there.. Your article is dated 1st August and that is my birthday. 108.
    Such joy.. I am enjoying my path of blossoming and unfolding in wholeness. Thank you for sharing your infinite wisdom….

  16. Ahlan

    Just wanted to share this. I was going through an entry of March 2011 in my journal where I had written: “I cant just tackle my negative and disturbing thoughts. The things that go on in my mind are unstoppable. I want to shut them out, but how? I wish I could just press a button and erase all the thoughts and be a new person.”

    Seems to me I have come a very long way ever since I chanced upon the button called ‘CDM’ in March 2013. Thanks a lot Sen, for opening the
    floodgates to knowledge and becoming a new person.and inner freedom! I am getting there slowly, but surely.

Comments are closed.