People often ask me, “Rinpoche, what do I have to do to find my true self?” My answer, “Returning to your self is finding your true self.”
There are many aspects to “self” of which you are mostly unaware. However, when external circumstances effect changes on your mind or when you are focused on something you like or to which you are attached, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the silhouette of the “self.” In most cases, it involves your attachments. For example: it could be someone you like, something you are partial to, an environment that pleases you, etc.—in other words, whatever draws you in, agitates and disturbs your mind as a result. These attachments are the favourite haunts of the “self.”
The search for “self” is like stripping off layers of clothes in the winter—peeling off layer by layer until you see your naked self. On the other hand, every time our eyes, ears or nose sees, hears or smells something we like, it’s like adding another layer to our outfit. In reality, when our heart’s desires become progressively insatiable, our mind has already been lassoed and harnessed by the object created from that longing. In this state, the true self becomes increasingly distant and blurred. Eventually, it disappears completely and can never come back again. Using phenomena as mind training is the only way to help the mind return to its dwelling place. When the mind is completely unaffected in any state that arises but, instead, transforms it—this is being in the moment. In another word, the moment lies in the dwelling place of the original mind.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche