I can say to you , the reader, that there is no “you” there, but you most likely will not completely agree with me. You do not yet believe this is true. What we learn in developing discrimination between what we think and what is in direct experience, is that thoughts always represent reality, but what they present never is reality. Just like the obvious fact that in everyday life, what a movie presents is never reality.
But in the pre-discrimination stages of experience, thought representations, “imagination”, can be easily confused with what’s real. This, in a sense, is where most people live their lives: an unrecognized mix of fantasy and reality.
This confusion is maintained by certain thoughts habitually occupying most of the available attention. Because of this, they appear to be more real compared to ordinary thoughts. They become beliefs. So you might say, “I think that may be true, but I believe that this IS true. Attention, focused awareness, is a power source of existence, an “enhancer”, and also an illuminator. And the more attention is focused on something, the more real that thing can seem to be. Like the belief in a sense of “you” as a separate person.
What can happen with persistent questioning and inspection into the sense of being a separate self is that the core beliefs about being a “you” change. It’s as though attention moves out of habitual focus on particular thought/belief, and takes in the surrounding area. Like noticing the theater you’re sitting in while experiencing a movie gives you perspective, and the ability to recognize the movie is not real but actually just a represention of reality.
Investigating the belief in “you” leads to a change in perspective. It illuminates the beliefs in a self as simply thoughts within the back-drop of “what is”: direct experience, bare perception. In that “light”, thoughts about a “self” are never convincing, only part of a flow of imagination. Even thoughts about being a person, a separate self are simply this.