We explore how the topic of self and not-self can be very confusing, for a number of reasons. We then present five perspectives for exploring this theme, a general way of making some sense of self and not-self and two initial practices to study 1. the sense of self, and 2. experience beyond limited senses of self.
To love ourselves, love others unconditionally to let in the love that comes our way, to realize more and more that love is our true nature -- these are tehe gifts of metta practice. With sincere intention and commitment, we can realize these fruits. We have everything we need to do this.
Mindfulness is the ability to generate attention toward oneself or an outside object. It is a step toward more conscious living. But mindfulness is coming from our exertion of will; that is, we are making ourselves mindful. When we relax our efforts, mindfulness goes away. As long as we are in control we will continue to believe in the truth of separation and will not see the end of the assumption of self. This is the spiritual fix we are in: either we let go of mindfulness into effortless awareness, or we stay bound to the person who is making herself conscious and thereby limit freedom.