You Are Not The Body

Transcript of the video:

The material body is a vehicle which you are temporarily in and temporarily using. There are many examples which can help you understand that you’re not the body.

For example, you can ask yourself the question, “Am I my hand?” And then you can ask yourself that if your hand was sitting on the other side of the room because it got cut off by a sword or it fell off on your way to work or something, would you be where the hand is or would you be where YOU are looking at the hand?

Show More

Actually, try to imagine a person freaking out. It happens quite often; people lose their hands or they lose their arms, they lose their legs, or they lose their fingers, they lose an ear, or a tongue, whatever. And here they are, they are sitting there, and some people lose their genitals in accidents, industrial accidents. Just try to imagine the situation here - here’s the person and his hand, or his arm, is sitting next to him on the floor or something! Or his finger is on the ground! Here he is working, and he looks down there and he feels this thing, his finger’s gone and it’s sitting there on the ground. It’s quite a shock. So he should ask himself at that time, (Laughs) “Am I the finger?” Actually a person is not the finger. So he goes, “Oh no, I’ve lost my finger!” So he picks it up and all the dirt and everything, it’s all dirty and stuff, he picks it up and rushes to the foreman, the head of the workforce and he says, as he holds his finger in one hand and shows his... no finger with the other hand, he says, “I lost my finger, I lost my finger!” And so, “Oh no, he lost his finger.” Rush down to the hospital and they try to put it back on. It happens all the time. Sometimes people lose their fingers or thumbs or something and they can’t find them. They look around, look around, searching for their thumbs or fingers, trying to put it back on.

Sometimes there’s a war and a person loses his legs or he loses his arms. Some people lose both legs and both arms. It’s a very sad thing. But actually the person, although he’s lost his arms or he’s lost his legs, he does not feel that he has gone or that he is half gone. He still feels, “I am me.” He still feels like a whole person. He doesn’t feel that I’m only half a person because half of my body is gone. He feels, “I am me.” And he feels very bad, he feels very uncomfortable that people don’t treat him as an ordinary person. They don’t treat him how they used to treat him. They now look at him as if he’s only part of the person that they used to know. So this makes him feel very bad because in fact he knows, “I’m the same person. I am me.” But he experiences that he has lost his arms, he’s lost his legs. He’s lost some possession of his, but he’s not gone.

You can do a meditation also; actually we don’t want to get too much into depth but this is the first point: to understand that you’re not any one part of your body. There are all kinds of meditation practices you can do to learn this. You don’t need to lose your arm or lose your leg. You can just go over each part of your body and ask yourself, “Am I the eye? Am I my eye?” You can go over each part of your body and you will conclude that you are not that part of your body. If you meditate, “Am I the hand? Am I the ear? Am I the right ear? No. Am I the left ear? No.” You can go through every single part of your body and you will experience or realize that you are not any one part of the body.

Now, another way to understand your essence as being non-material, or that you are not the body in other words, is by understanding that the body that you have today is not the same body that you had seven years ago; that the cells are always changing which make up the body. Actually there’s a few cells, some cells like brain cells, they last. In a sense they last, in the sense that the cells do not reproduce. Or what do they call it, what do they call a cell that reproduces? Another cell does not take its place, it stays there, but in a sense it does change in the most important sense, and that is that the molecules which make up that cell, change. In other words, for example the brain cells, in a sense the same brain cell is there; but in fact the molecules which make up those brain cells change every few days. So that in fact the matter, the actual molecular particles that you might be holding in your hand today, if you were to be able to take your brain out and hold it, it would not be the same lump of matter that would be there three days from now. Every single molecule will have changed. All the molecules which are now in your head, all the molecules which are now in your head, which is called your brain, every single one of those molecules will be gone in three days. Raises a lot of interesting questions like “Where is memory?” How come we can remember things which happened longer than three days ago? This is another whole point.

The point being that every single molecule in your body, other than, for example, the nail that you stepped on or something, there’s still bits and pieces of it somewhere in your body, or if you got shot and there’s part of a bullet in your bones. The bones are continually changing, the matter which makes up the bones are continually changing. The bullet’s still the same piece of matter, it’s breaking down more slowly. So in fact no particle, no material particle in your body is the same, except maybe like I said, maybe the bullet or something. But since it wasn’t there in the beginning, you can’t really consider that to be yourself.

So if you know that all of the body is continually changing, the molecules which make up the body are continually changing, then you can understand that you are not the body. The body that you had on seven years ago is not the body you have on today. Yet you existed seven years ago, you know it; you can remember you were there. You existed seven years ago. You can say, “I remember I existed seven years ago.” But the body you had seven years ago is not here now. So you existed seven years ago and you exist today, but the body which existed seven years ago does not exist today. Therefore you can conclude that you are not the body. You are not matter.

So what is your essence? You are the life force, the spirit soul, only temporarily in the body, using the body. Aham brahmasmi: I am Brahman, I am spirit, I’m not matter. This is the first point, or the first part of understanding one’s identity. My essence is I am eternal spirit soul, I’m the living force only temporarily in this body, and when I leave this body the body goes back to the dirt, it breaks down. My existence is not dependent upon the existence of this body but rather this body’s existence is dependent upon my being in it. And as soon as I leave this body, then the very complex arrangement of matter breaks down into very simple forms of matter. That’s when you have the fermenting and the bad smells and the gasses coming off and everything. It’s a very complex form of matter breaking down into simpler forms of matter because the living being left it. So as long as you, the living being, are in it then the body will continue to be walking, talking, moving around and not fermenting. Not putting off the gasses which a corpse puts off. The smell of corpses, if you’ve been around a lot of dead bodies in a war or something, it’s just overwhelming. If you think that compost from sugarcane or fruits and vegetables smells bad, be around a bunch of dead bodies; now that’s smells bad, the human bodies.

So this is the first point: you are not matter, you are spirit. You are not the body.

Jagad Guru Chris Butler - founder of Science of Identity Foundation