There is no self, I do not exist!

Continuation of What is the self?

The fact that I can’t find anything that I could call a self is very unsettling. I firmly assumed that there was something there. And now I can’t find anything.

I have to find out more about it to be convinced that there is no self.

I stand up. Walk 5 steps in one direction and then 5 steps in the other. Who is actually walking? Who is coordinating all this? Who lifts the legs and puts them down again? Who decides to turn left or right?

Oh man, that’s impossible! Nobody coordinates or decides. It just happens. All by itself. I don’t do any of it, anyway.

I am not the body and I don’t move it.

Then I am the one who experiences?

I look around. Looking through the car window, all kinds of images pass by. I notice how they are all named in my mind. Raindrops running down the windscreen. Street signs flying by. Red, blue and white cars overtaking me. The red taillights ahead of me. Green trees and meadows. The grey sky with dark clouds.

Now I try to leave out the naming of things. Now I actually only see lines. From very short to infinitely long. Sometimes wide, sometimes narrow. Straight, curved, bent. Some connected in such a way that they form surfaces. Some barely stand out from the surroundings. Others shine. Or they form a strong contrast to the surroundings. Everything is filled with a drone. This is overlaid by a deeper drone. I hear a clatter. Not rhythmic. Bright. Sometimes louder, sometimes quieter. I feel a tingling in my legs. Sometimes in my feet too. Now and then my body bounces in the seat. Moving back and forth. Every now and then I feel something very soft and warm under my hand. My hand moves gently over it. I taste something very sweet. It feels firm, but also soft. I hear a cracking sound.

Wow, it feels very different somehow. Everything I perceive is somehow already there. Everything that happens happens by itself. Without me having to do anything. My self is not “out there” either. I don’t find it in the material world. Not outside my body. But not inside either. At least not with the 5 senses.There are only thoughts in which a self appears.

I walk down a street and perceive all kinds of things.Without any thoughts at all.Then suddenly the thought “I’m walking”, “I’m walking down the street”, “I see a red sign”, “I see a stop sign”.

This thought “I see” can neither make nor stop the seeing. It is simply seen. Always. Thoughts seem to have the job of describing everything that is seen. To put it into words so that it can be said. But they always do it afterwards.

They describe everything that happens, has happened and might happen. They make words out of what they have experienced. But what is experienced is also there without thoughts. It does not need words.

But what is meant by the word self? If going is also possible without self. Then why the word self? What does it point to? I no longer know who or what is meant by it. When I see the self in the mirror, my thoughts think it’s me. But what I see is not a self that directs and controls, thinks or feels. What is the self?

Who or what is thinking about all this. Who or what is looking for the self everywhere? Who or what is writing here right now? Yes, who or what is searching for self….


There is no entity that looks, thinks and observes. Thinking and observing just happens, that is, without any intention or anyone doing it.

There is no self that thinks, directs, is in control, decides, that actually exists. It is only a thought.

An invention.


I’m in Greece right now, walking through the shallow waters of a small bay.When I see something, I think: colour-image. When I hear something: sound. When I touch something: Touch. When I smell or taste something: smell, taste. When I think something: thought.
And I look to see if there is a self among the things I experience.

After a while it becomes quiet. The thoughts come to rest and become less and less. By constantly naming and evaluating everything that is experienced, the thoughts put it into a context. And at some point that is simply gone. It feels like an eternity, but it’s probably only a few minutes, there’s no more place and time. My body can no longer be felt. There are only sounds and colours… It’s like another world. In which everything is gone, but nothing is missing either. It’s only for a moment. Some event ends it. Was there a self among the things? There were no things…

Wow again.

I repeated this a few more times. But I didn’t succeed.

Until I checked that nothing needs to be done at all. It’s always there. You just don’t see it often. Whenever a thought leaves and before a new thought comes, it can be seen. Like an automatic sliding door that opens and closes. And when it’s open, you see what’s behind it.

Or rather, you feel it. Often it is only a very short moment. Then a new thought comes and it’s gone. So sometimes it’s hardly noticeable or not noticeable at all.Sometimes, however, the moment lasts a little longer.

And then there is only seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. No place and no time. Even the term ‘now’ doesn’t really apply, but it comes closest. The next thought and you are back in a place at a certain time. Without thoughts, none of this exists. No even, no equal. No good or bad.

There is no self.

I am 100% sure and have no more doubts.

See through self illusion: This blog is about awakening using the concept of the 10 fetters as described by Buddha. The first step is to see through the self illusion – the first fetter.