Growing up in a Buddhist household and attending a Buddhist School, my belief system has strong foundations in the teachings of the Buddha. But there were two concepts that I always struggled to understand. The first concept was the fact that we had no soul or were “Anatma” according to the Pali word. To me it seemed contradictory to the premise of rebirth if there was no component that carried on through each lifetime. Now however with my expanded awareness of our interconnectedness, I think I finally understand what the Buddha meant by being Soulless. There is no permanent part of ourselves that endures through time because of two reasons.
First, everything is impermanent. So when we die in one lifetime, it is not the “us” that was physically, mentally and spiritually on this earth that becomes reborn in a different body. The energy that is “us” disconnects from the physical body at death, but when it merges back into the cosmic energy or the Field as Lynne McTaggart defined it, it carries with it all the learnings it gleaned from that lifetime. So it is not the same “us” that carries through into future lifetimes.
Secondly, there is no “us” or separate beings. We are all one. That is why we are soulless because to have a soul would mean we are separate. We are one cosmic consciousness and manifestation in human form is an illusion that leads us to cling to worldly beliefs such as the existence of “I”.
The second concept of Buddhism that is finally starting to make sense is of the form of suffering known to man, called “Piyehi vippa yoga” in Pali or “Separation from the Beloved or Loved Ones” in English. In the past, I thought this to mean the parting from loved ones such as family or a spouse and associated it with heartbreak. The Buddha teaches that following the Nobel Eightfold Path or the Middle Way eliminates this form of suffering. And now I realise that particular form of suffering disappears when one realises that there is no parting, ever. If we are all one, then we cannot separate. That brings us back to the understanding that separateness is indeed an illusion.
These understandings exist side by side in my mind with the agony experienced through separating from another human being. I feel pain somewhere in the region of my heart and sometimes it is difficult to breath. That tells me I am yet to be enlightened, however, I am starting to see beyond what I have always seen and that can only be a good thing.