One of the deepest questions we can ask ourselves is the question of our true identity: Who Am I?
Are we just biological organisms, that were born and will eventually die, or are we more than that?
Science, philosophy and religion haven’t provided me with a satisfactory answer.
While science refers to human beings as biological organisms, Western philosophers understood that this perspective isn’t sufficient. Our body is changing continuously, yet we remain ourselves. For example, most of the cells in our bodies are being replaced every few years. So the body I have now is not the body I had seven years ago, yet “I” remained.
So what is this “I” that remained? Is it my mind, is it my memories, or is it something else? For this question, Western philosophy couldn’t produce a clear answer.
Meanwhile, religion gave us an answer. It claimed that we are an immortal soul. Yet we cannot rely on this answer since it isn’t backed up by any evidence we can verify. It may, or may not be true, yet in either of the cases, for us, being a soul, is an answer based solely on belief.
An answer arrives from the East.
Even though science, philosophy and Western religion could not provide us with a sufficient answer, an answer does exist. It was already known thousands of years ago to several Eastern spiritual traditions such as Advaita Vedanta and Jnana Yoga. Using various meditative techniques of self-inquiry, these monks and yogis managed to discover, among all the elements that compose our being, an element that is fundamental and unchanging.
They explained that in the background of our psyche, exists an “observer” or an “experiencer,” that observes our thoughts, our emotions and sensations. This observer is not the thoughts, the emotions or sensations. It experiences them, but it is not affected by them.
This observer is the true us. We are pure awareness.
Yet, how can we believe that the answer of the Eastern sages is the true one? They claim to have reached it through a meditative process, but for us who haven’t experienced such a process, believing this answer is the same as believing any other religious answer.
The following video manages to lead us, step by step, to the same answer of the Eastern sages, using only simple, day-to-day experiences, to show us who we really are.
Author: Tsur Taub
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Video Still
hot on elephant
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