For something that is not meant to exist, reducing self to a minimalized size might be the most an aspiring Buddhist can hope for.
Impermanence helps as proof of existence – I exist – although impermanently – therefore I am, for now.
Countless texts and discussions (same thing, different format) challenge the concept of self.
Convincing oneself that the self does not exist is difficult. If that voice in your head is not your self, then who is it? Minimalizing the self is also difficult, however, less so.
An example from my recent observations may help with regard to minimalizing the self.
It could be described as an embrace of insignificance.
For five weeks I’ve been banished from my home while renovations are being done. A hotel room is now my domicile. With limited space, only the bare essentials could be brought along. My possessions (impermanent) have been minimalized.
Living in a heritage quarter of Singapore (Joo Chiat) I wander daily past buildings nearly a century old nestled amongst glass and steel monsters that are younger than my bicycle.
Contemplating this scene, the thought that this place will not look much different when my life ends reminds me of the minimal influence I have had with any of these buildings. Some built before my birth, some built during my life, most still standing after my death. No affect whatsoever from my being.
The influence from my self on these things has been less than minimal; Insignificant.
This impermanent experience in a hotel room has also provided useful lessons on minimalism and essentialism, essentially synonymous concepts.
Another example; For running I’ve got one set of running clothes; singlet, shorts, socks, shoes, cap. Essentialism applied.
More than self, perhaps life, minimalized.
Photo credit (manipulated without permission)