The Body is Not Constant, But You Are

Transcript of the video:

Woman in audience:

Recent studies on the turnover of the molecular population within a given nerve cell have indicated that, although the cells themselves retain their individuality, their macromolecular contingent is renewed about ten thousand times in a lifetime. (In other words, the matter making up each cell is completely renewed every three days).

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Jagad Guru: Every three days. Every three days you get a new brain. This is… there’s a lot of things that are… you know, there’s a lot of questions that that brings up, like you know, how do you remember anything?” I mean, your memories are supposed to be stored in some mythical memory bank, you know, or some tracings, you see, some traces on the brain, you know. They’re looking… the guys look for… we’ll get into memory later on in this series but I just wanted to mention that now, as we go along. But the people who identify themselves as their brain, and a lot of people do, they have to understand that they are still themselves. I am me, but my brain is different. I am me, but I have a new brain, you know.

So this is the problem here, okay. It’s like there’s a constant change in your body, okay. The matter which makes up your body is constantly, continually changing. So the question is, if this matter which makes up the body is continually changing, then what am I? If I’m not the matter, then where am I if I’m not any part of my body and I’m not the matter which makes up my body. I mean I can’t be; after all I’m still here, my body’s gone. Then what am I? So if a person answers to the question, “Who are you?”, and they say, “I am my body.” And you ask them, “Did you exist seven years ago?”, and they say, “Yes.” And you ask them, “Do you exist now?” and they say, “Yes,” in fact they are simply speaking out of ignorance.

You cannot claim to be your body and yet claim that you existed seven years ago and claim that you exist today. Because the body that you had seven years ago just does not exist today. Okay? Now, most people understand this change, you know. They understand it from a different angle, like maybe they’ll flash unto them when they look in the mirror or maybe when they see a photograph of themselves taken twenty years ago or forty years ago, you know, or like if they have a, you know, family album, you know, and they sit down and look at the family album, you know. “Oh, there’s a picture of…”, you know, “there’s a picture of me when I was two.” And, “Oh, there’s a picture of me when I was twenty. Here’s a picture of me when I was thirty and there’s a picture of me when I’m forty. Gee, it sure is different. It’s so different.” They see the difference. I mean, you know, they see the baby body and the boy body and the childhood body and like this. They see these differences when they look at the photographs.

Sometimes a young girl, you know, maybe she’s got a boyfriend, you know. He’s coming over, and you know how mothers sometimes are, you know. She’ll pull out the family album and she’ll say, “Johnny have you ever seen this picture of Linda?” (Audience laughs) You know, and she’s sitting there in her diapers, (Audience laughs) three years old, you know, or one. Whatever it is, how long they wear diapers, I don’t know. And the daughter, Linda goes, “Don’t show him that, mom!” She gets all embarrassed, okay. It doesn’t look anything like her, you know. She’s this raving beauty and there she’s sitting there drooling, you know. (laughter)

So we flash on it, you know, that we’re not… you know, the body’s not the same, you know, especially if somebody’s got a really old body. Maybe they got a body that’s seventy years old and they look back on all their different bodies that they’ve had, you know. Now, they’re bitter sixty and they used to be sweet sixteen, you know. They’re sitting there looking at the picture when they won the beauty contest, you know. Maybe they’re showing it to some old man, you know, in the old age home. (talks in an old crackly voice) “Here I was when I was seventeen. I won the contest.” You know, she’s got no teeth, you know, and a whole completely different body. She remembers she was there. She remembers all about it. She’s telling him all about it. “Oh, this happened and this happened. I remember I didn’t think I was going to win and I was so excited when I won.” She was there and she’s there now. She’s living now. She lived then, she existed then and she exists now but the body she had then is long gone. Where is it? Where is your sweet sixteen body? It’s gone to the dust. It’s been eaten by the worms everywhere. So who knows where your body is? If that was you, where are you? You’re all over the place.

This is one way to appreciate that actually the gross physical body cannot be considered the self. It cannot be considered the self because it doesn’t remain the same. It’s not constant. But you are a constant. You know that although you have a different body, that you still exist, that you are still you. You’re still you. You’re not someone else, you’re you. Your mind has changed, your body has changed, okay? But you’re still you. You understand this?

Siddhaswarupananda - founder of Science of Identity Foundation