We are so used to thinking from a subjective perspective that it’s difficult to contemplate things without a subject. The subject or person becomes the underlying assumption in every situation. So the person does things with the objective of personal expansion by earning name, fame, money, recognition, spiritual growth, and so on. Our every move is geared towards personal enhancement.
Never do we question the existence of the subject because it feels uncomfortable. For some people, this is unimaginable. Isn’t the person a conceptual thought born out of inference? The only way you know that you exist is because you’ve been told so by somebody. So the memory brings up the image that creates the notion of a person.
Is the person your continuous experience? There’s no one in deep sleep yet to seem to remember that you slept. In the waking state also, the person is not a continuous experience. For example, when you’re immersed in making a piece of art, writing, dancing, painting, or doing critical work, do you remember the person doing something?
No. You become the art. You become the painting. You become the work you’re engrossed in. So many tasks happen in autopilot mode, like brushing, bathing, driving to work, etc. The person springs up when an object arises that demands attention.
For example, when you’re driving to work, you know the way by heart, so driving happens. You don’t have to calculate the distance or remember your way every time. But what happens when someone abruptly cuts you off on the road? The person comes up spontaneously, sensing danger. How dare they do that to “me?”
That discomfort lingers for some time, and then the autopilot resumes with the driving. You reach your workplace and check your email. The autopilot is still in operation. Abruptly, you see an email from a customer who is asking for a refund because he’s not satisfied with the services you rendered for him last week. Again, the person arises with anger and frustration. What the hell? Why do they want a refund now?
Do you see that the person is not a continuous experience? It is a thought that reacts to a sensation. The sensation brings about an inference of a subject or person. The person either wants to resist the sensation or wants to repeat an experience to end the uncomfortable feeling. I want this. I don’t want that.
The person only appears in contact with an object. It has no independent existence of its own. Say, for example, if, somehow, your entire memory got wiped out, what would remain? Would you remember yourself as a person or an individual? What would you BE?