A set of building facades not backed by anything, like a Hollywood movie set.

A village is “A settlement usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town. An incorporated and minor municipality.”

An incorporated and minor municipality.” Perfect.

I’m writing an article for my “No More Mr. Nice Guy” coaching practice. The article is about how to shift one’s thinking so as to become more or less indifferent to whatever arises in one’s life. In other words, it’s about how to avoid becoming strongly attached to particular outcomes one might want.

The metaphor that I’m working with now is that the ego is, at root, a psychological Potemkin Village. It’s an elaborate deception that we create early in life and which is reinforced over and over again by ourselves and by others for the rest of our lives. Until we recognize the deception for what it is – if we ever do – we are likely to invest a great deal of time and effort in building up our faux village, decorating the buildings, paving the roads and probably putting up security gates and checkpoints at the entrances and exits.

Fifteen years ago, Facebook was one of the places where I worked on a Potemkin Village of my own. It’s where I built my shrine to myself. It’s where I talked about all of the victories, and never mentioned the defeats … unless I could somehow twist the defeat into some kind of humble-brag nonsense.

That time of my life is a profound embarrassment to me, yet even as I write this, I recognize that that embarrassment is a physiological response to conditioning I have received over the 62 years or so of my existence.

It’s possible to wake up to the recognition that the world – reality – is a unity; a single, indivisible whole that is beyond all description. This is non-duality.

Why “beyond all description?”

To describe something means to identify things (let’s call them referents) and relationships between them. And yet, in a single, unified whole, there are no individual referents. Without individual referents, you can’t have relationships, because all relationships require at least two referents.

Confused?

If so, you’re not alone. Non-duality is a mind-bender, and that’s a good thing. If it didn’t actually bend your mind, it wouldn’t have any transformative power.

So, this is the direction in which I am headed: If you want to learn how to overcome unpleasant emotions, recognizing that what you see as your most precious possession (your ego, your sense of you) doesn’t exist in the way we normally assume. If it doesn’t actually exist, it cannot be damaged by anything you or others might do.

I expect to have more to say in the future. I hope your day will be a pleasant one for you and yours.